Tampa Bay Times CEO Paul Tash got a slight pay bump even as he complained paper tariffs would, and did, lead to layoffs

Paul Tash
Other Poynter executives also saw a pay bump.

Tampa Bay Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash saw a slight bump in pay in 2018 compared to his reported earnings in 2017.

Tash received a little over $488,000 in total reportable compensation in 2018, up about $3,000 from $485,000 in 2017, according to available 990 tax filings.

While the pay increase is statistically insignificant, less than one half of one percent of his salary, it came as Tash himself was lamenting increased costs to the paper associated with paper tariffs under President Donald Trump’s administration.

And Tash wasn’t the only one who saw a pay bump that year.

Kelly McBride, the Senior Vice President for the Poynter Institute, earned more than $161,000 in 2018, up nearly $6,000 from her 2017 earnings.

Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member for Poynter, saw a nearly $14,000 pay bump from $170,357 in 2017 to $184,351 in 2018.

Meanwhile, Poynter President Neil Brown took a pay cut of nearly $6,000, dropping from nearly $297,000 in 2017 to $291,000 in 2018.

The overall boost in executive salaries though came the same year Tash penned a column in the Times lamenting paper tariffs he said would inevitably lead to potential increases in costs to consumers, a reduction in content and employee layoffs.

Indeed, the Times did layoff employees.

Tash complained about the tariffs in a March 23, 2018 column. Less than a month later, the paper announced it was cutting about 50 jobs and directly referenced the tariffs as the culprit. Later that year the Poynter Institute, which owns the Times, cut another 16 full and part-time jobs.

Earlier this year the Times laid off another seven employees, all of them journalists.

Add to that the Times’ ongoing financial conundrum. The paper wracked up millions of dollars in debt with Crystal Financial including more than $13 million to purchase and facilitate the purchase of the now defunct Tampa Tribune.

The Times refinanced the $18 million balance of that debt through Encina Business Credit with the help of eight local investors who contributed a combined $15 million to the times that includes, among others, Tash and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


3 comments

  • Ron

    December 23, 2019 at 9:15 am

    For years the Times has been sinking into a quagmire of its own making. To suggest these layoffs were the direct result of tariffs on newsprint is just another dash of TDS.

  • gary

    December 23, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    The Times is a spiraling into its grave! Not unlike the DEMOCRAT party that it propagandist for! Good riddance losers!

  • Jerry D Ford

    December 25, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Real journalism is a foreign concept to the TBT and the Poynter Institute, ergo, they are sinking of their own weight.

Comments are closed.


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