This is a tough time for the newspaper industry. Some have stopped home delivery, some have gone to online content only and still others have shut down completely. And the papers that are still above water, many of those are cutting staff.
And the local newspapers are not immune to these troubled times.
We hear lots of rumors about the future of the two local papers, but what we do know is that the Tampa Tribune has gone through at least four rounds of staff cuts and about half of the staff was offered buyouts last year. Things are a little better over at the St. Pete Times, but only after 200 staffers accepted buyouts last year and the remaining employees are under a salary freeze.
Over the years here at Rays Index we have been rough on some of the local writers from time to time. But the fact that we have only been strongly critical of a dozen or so columns out of the thousands that have been written, says a lot about how great the content is 99.9% of the time.
And more importantly, we will be the first to admit, that there is no Rays Index if there is no local baseball coverage, especially Marc Topkin and Marc Lancaster.
This is not to say that there is any indication that either of the Marcs will be leaving us anytime soon. We certainly hope they are with us for years to come. But the recent firings of several baseball beat writers across the country, especially the incident at the Baltimore Sun, in which their O’s beat writer was fired at the game, has at least heightened our senses.
So at this point we say “Thank You,” to all the local writers that cover the Rays.
If you would like to do the same, the best way is to always click on the links to the Tribune and the Times, that you see here. It may not be that much traffic in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit will help the Suits realize the importance of the local baseball writers.