Media Deathwatch: Tampa Tribune

Jessica DaSilva posted last week right after the Tampa Tribune Editor in Chief Janet Coats announced a major round of layoffs, and their embarkation for a trip in an entirely new direction:

Then she dropped the reality bomb:

“People need to stop looking at TBO.com as an add on to The Tampa Tribune,” she said. “The truth is that The Tampa Tribune is an add on to TBO.”

(Bold added for effect)

The questions from much of the newsroom apparently were the same old saws: “how will this affect profits” and “How will we compete with the other local paper” (quotes not verbatim, I wasn’t there, but are true to what Jessica posts).

I’m glad to hear they got it. Stop chasing a model that obviously isn’t working anymore. Instead of trying to support print as the end all and be all, with it’s incredibly costly delivery mechanism, start thinking about yourselves as content development. Find *all the delivery streams* that can make you money and optimize them. Forget about the ones that don’t make you money.

More from DaSilva’s post:

Janet believes in the news industry. She believes in holding government, media and the public accountable. And she knows there is not another job that makes such a huge difference and weilds such power. News organizations offer society so much, and that is why she cannot take another job – because journalism is her calling, and she knows there is nothing else she could ever imagine herself doing.

“It’s worth fighting for,” Janet said.

Out of all her quoteable moments, those were the words that stuck with me. It was that powerful statement that conveyed the hope, faith and prayers of all journalists worldwide. That maybe this industry can’t be demolished because of its importance and that maybe our love and passion for it could be enough to keep it running.

It’s going to be tough, and no, passion is not enough to keep things running in a broken model. If you combine passion with a willingness to change, to innovate and revolutionize (is that even a word?), you’ve got a much better chance.

To keep on doing what they were doing would be insane. To quote the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo:

They came on in the same old way, and we sent them back in the same old way

My best wishes to the Tampa Tribune staff, DaSilva and Coats that they can weather the storm.