On Thursday, Tampa Bay Times laid off 7 of its newsroom staff including five full-timers and two part-timers. In addition, two other openings are not being filled, reports Poynter.
Among those laid off is award-winning sports columnist Martin Fennelly, who joined the Times from the Tampa Tribune in 2016.
The newspaper has also decided to combine the national and local sections in print on Monday through Saturday in an effort to save costs. The announcement was made by Mark Katches, executive editor, in a meeting Thursday afternoon at the paper’s St. Petersburg, Florida, headquarters.
The latest financial crunch for the Times was made worse because of the loss of a major auto dealership advertiser over the summer, as well as digital revenue not meeting projections.
Katches said, “It’s never easy to say goodbye to great colleagues. No one wins when local journalism jobs are lost. Like every regional metro in America, the revenue picture presents significant challenges for us. But we’re buttressed by the fact that we have one of the most enormously talented newsrooms on the planet. That was true yesterday and it remains true today.”
This news comes less than two months after a partnership of Tampa Bay business leaders increased its loan to the Times Publishing Co. by $3 million. That brought the total loan to approximately $15 million.
In April 2018, the newsroom laid off approximately 50 employees company wide.
The Times’ layoffs are the latest in a series of newsroom cuts at papers across the country as last week, the McClatchy chain laid off 1% of its newsroom.