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Tampa Bay Times will temporarily cut employee pay amid financial decline

Employees will lose 10% of their pay for 13 weeks.

The Tampa Bay Times will cut worker pay temporarily beginning next month.

Workers will see a 10% reduction in pay beginning March 13, according to information in an internal memo obtained by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

The cuts will last 13 weeks, according to the Business Journal, and will return to normal in June.

“This step is regrettable but necessary because revenues are falling short, a little in circulation and more seriously in advertising,” the memo said. “While we anticipated declines in print advertising, they are deeper than we expected, particularly in display advertising for some large accounts. Our sales teams are working diligently to preserve that business while finding new customers. But the growth of new accounts has not made up for the losses,” the memo read, according to the Business Journal.

The paper also reportedly told employees job cuts are also likely.

In exchange for the pay cuts, employees will receive an additional five paid days off.

Times CEO Paul Tash along with Editor Mark Katches, General Manager Joe DeLuca, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bruce Faulmann and Chief Digital Officer Conan Galatty will each take a 15% pay cut.

Times Political Editor Steve Contorno shared the Times’ plight on Twitter encouraging readers to subscribe to the paper to help stanch the flow of revenue bleeding.

“If you love our newspaper and this community as much as we do, we need your support. Subscribe, so we can keep working for you,” Contorno wrote.

Readers were quick to respond with shows of support. Some from out of state even said they would subscribe despite the Times not being their hometown paper. Others who were already subscribers offered words of encouragement.

“I love this newspaper and have a subscription. It’s physical and digital. Amazing coverage of what is happening in the Tampa/StPete area, concerts, events, comics, local news, investigations, all draw me to this excellent source of information. Please subscribe!,” wrote one reader.

Others who described the paper as biased blamed the paper for its own demise.

“I suppose it’s difficult to be biased and run an unbiased publication. Maybe one day some truly independent thinkers can come in and right the ship? Until then, Godspeed.”

The Times is facing steady financial decline. Liens against the paper’s parent company now total more than $103 million, according to documents obtained by Florida Politics last June.

Two years ago, a group of investors including Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, philanthropists Frank Morsani and Kiran Patel and their wives, developer Ted Couch and Washington Redskins part-owner Robert Rothman, BluePearl CEO Darryl Shaw, Times CEO Paul Tash and one other who has not been identified put up $12 million under the name FBN Partners to help the paper stay afloat.

FBN stands for “Florida’s Best Newspaper,” one of the Times’ slogans.

In 2017, the widow of Nelson Poynter who controls a trust that loaned the Times more than $9 million, sued the paper for defaulting on that loan, which at the time still had a nearly $8 million balance.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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