OLD Media Moves

Biz reporters who smoke cigars to find sources

March 1, 2006

Those who practice the art of business journalism don’t typically look to the alternative weekly newspapers that inhabit most metropolitan communities for tips on how they practice their craft. But deep in the crevasses of the Weekly Planet, the alternative rag in Tampa, is a nice reporting tip that brings back memories.

Wayne GarciaThe Planet has an collection of first-person items this week on how each of its staff members began smoking and what they think of smoking. Political reporter/guru Wayne Garcia of the Planet staff remembers the first time he puffed on a cigar in the early 1990s when we were both writers for the Tampa Tribune’s business section.

Garcia writes: “My first encounter with cigars was, well, misguided. I smoked a pack of Swisher Sweets in 1978 while at the Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville. I didn’t touch another dog rocket for 13 years, until I was working in the Tampa Tribune’s business news department.

“A co-worker — Adam Levy, now a bureau chief with Bloomberg Business News — urged me one day to join him for an afternoon smoke break at Tampa’s legendary Edward’s Pipe and Tobacco, a hangout for various captains of industry who smoke. Levy got good banking story tips there; I figured I would try a cigar and hang out.

Adam Levy“Cigar-smoking stuck. Today, I find the ritual relaxing — carving out an hour to sit back, clip the end of the stogie, light it and enjoy while the rest of the world keeps spinning.”

Read the entire piece here.

I can verify this story, as I am friends with both Garcia and Levy and also frequented the cigar bar at Edward’s. A number of Tampa business leaders would go there on their lunch hours, and we figured it was a good opportunity for us to talk to them in a more casual setting.

And yes, we got good story tips there.

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