Tampa Bay Times Will Not Print Every Day

man reading a newspaper

Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

Today we mourn the loss of another daily newspaper. After Sunday, April 5, the Tampa Bay Times will cease printing the newspaper every day. Starting Monday, the paper will not print on Monday. Or Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Tampa Bay Times will become a two-day newspaper, printing on Wednesday and Sunday.

It is ironic that the Tampa Bay Times is using the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as the excuse for ceasing to be a daily newspaper. The Covid-19 pandemic is a historic event of Biblical proportions. Covid-19 is the biggest daily news story since World War II.

Previously, big-city newspapers prided themselves on continuing the public service of covering and printing the news every single day through even the most disastrous and dangerous times. Newspapers considered it an almost sacred duty.

As far as I know, London newspapers continued to print every day during the Battle of Britain, when the city was bombed every night. Newspapers did not stop printing every day during the flu pandemic of 1918, which happened to coincide with the final, decisive year of World War I.

(Yes, social media consumers, cities had two or more daily newspapers — sometimes many daily newspapers — in days of yore. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.)

For the record, the Tampa Bay Times is really the St. Petersburg Times. It began calling itself the Tampa Bay Times after the city of Tampa’s last daily died. The newspaper’s office is still in St. Petersburg. I suppose the name change protected Tampa from the humiliation of being the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper. Well, no longer.

It used to be normal for big cities — even small cities — to have two or more competing daily newspapers. Cities had afternoon newspapers and morning newspapers, and sometimes newspapers that printed all day, edition after edition. You knew things were changing when big cities that previously had two newspapers became one-newspaper cities. In the case of St. Petersburg and Tampa, two of the biggest cities in Florida became two cities with one newspaper for an entire region. The newspaper was renamed for the bay which separates Tampa from St. Petersburg. The one remaining newspaper in recent years was little more than a shadow on many days.

It was unable to print such things as the daily box score of the region’s Major League baseball team. In the past year, the paper often reported discovery of forgotten grave sites as the most important news of the day. It was digging up information that was decades old, and neglecting to print much actual news.

The Tampa Bay Times has devoted full pages to predicting its own demise many times since the Covid-19 pandemic became serious. At a time when the public is in need of the latest news of a major continuing dangerous event affecting every citizen, the Tampa Bay Times is eager to excuse itself from the chore of printing the news. Its executives seem almost proud of their intention to downsize the newspaper, holding the paper up as a sad victim of the news, rather than a reporter of the news.

The former daily newspaper is now begging readers to subscribe to an “online” version. I wonder how long it will continue to print on Wednesdays? How many more employees will be laid off? And how long before it prints a final headline, “FAREWELL.”

Goodbye, Tampa Bay Times. Rest in peace.

— John Hayden

Dangerous Heatwave Alert

Dangerous HEAT — like over 100° and then some — is expected this weekend throughout much of the United States, especially the East Coast, Andrew Freedman reports in The Washington Post. It will be an extended heatwave, possibly of historic magnitude, that’s my interpretation. Google the Capital Weather Gang. Turn on your TV. Bring in the pets.

The heat will be made worse by very high humidity left over from the hurricane that moved north from the Gulf of Mexico a few days ago.

Extremely high heat is a most dangerous weather condition, according to Freedman.

Everyone should make sure their air-conditioning is working, and that includes New England. Have extra water. That’s according to me.

ELDERLY PEOPLE who do not have air conditioning should make plans to shelter in a safe, air-conditioned place for the weekend, or longer. Pack your bag and go to a relative’s or a friend’s house. Don’t wait. Do it sooner rather than later. Today or Thursday would be a good time to go. Don’t forget your toothbrush and your prescriptions. I’m not an expert, and I don’t want to be alarmist, that’s simply my opinion.

I imagine that every big city will open heat shelters, but I don’t know if they will act quickly enough or have adequate space for everyone.

My personal suggestion for dogs and cats: It would be nice if you can take them with you, but it’s probably not critical. I think they will survive OK. Just leave them several large bowls of water and let them go down in the basement, if you can. They can go hungry for a while, but they need water.

Pray that the power companies are prepared, and the electric grid is secure. Demand overload and power failure could easily turn into emergency. Widespread and extended power outages could become disasters.

This is not science fiction, or apocalyptic fiction, or any kind of fiction. It’s news. It’s what we can expect in the future. The future begins this weekend.

— John

Gaithersburg Is Most Diverse Small City In America, And Don’t Forget Silver Spring, Germantown and Rockville

How diverse is Gaithersburg?  Go ahead, take a guess.

MAP OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD, SHOWS GERMANTOWN AT THE NORTH END OF A PROPOSED TRANSIT LINE, THEN, GOING SOUTH, GAITHERSBURG AND ROCKVILLE, AND SILVER SPRING, NEAR THE D.C. LINE.

MAP OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD, SHOWS GERMANTOWN AT THE NORTH END OF A PROPOSED TRANSIT LINE (green line) AND GOING SOUTH, GAITHERSBURG AND ROCKVILLE. SILVER SPRING IS AT THE SOUTHCENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST CORNER OF THE MAP, NEAR THE D.C. LINE.

Gaithersburg is the most diverse small city in America. Number One in diversity out of more than 300 cities, according to Wallethub.com!   Continue reading

Half The People Arrested Monday Night Have Not Been Charged With Any Crime

Half of the 235 people arrested during disorder on the streets of Baltimore on Monday night have been released without being charged with a crime, The Baltimore Sun has reported. Read The Sun story here. Apparently, paperwork on many of the arrests could not be found. Continue reading

Sun Is Shining On Baltimore Today; Trouble May Continue In Coming Days, Or Not

BALTIMORE SUN PHOTO

BALTIMORE SUN PHOTO

Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox game is being played to an empty stadium in Camden Yards Wednesday afternoon. Game closed to public after trouble in the streets on Monday and Tuesday. For more breaking news, see BaltimoreSun.com

Continue reading

Baltimore Police-Community Relations, Necessary Background

Anyone who isn’t familiar with Baltimore will need some background and perspective to even begin to understand the troubled story unfolding there. The protests and unrest in the city stem from the arrest and death in custody of Freddie Gray, who was buried Monday. But the underlying grievances have a long history.  Continue reading

Baltimore Protests And Looting

Regarding Monday’s unrest in Baltimore, most of us should take time to think before we speak. I live in Maryland, but not in Baltimore. Let’s listen first to the voices of the residents and elected leaders of Baltimore.  Continue reading

Detroit Bankruptcy, Now We Wait

Largest Bankruptcies

Largest Bankruptcies (Photo credit: Adam Crowe)

Long-term viability of Social Security has been a subject of concern for years. Now, the Detroit bankruptcy filing turns the spotlight on municipal and state pensions.

I personally believe Social Security is in better financial shape than most people think. Social Security can easily survive into the 22nd century and beyond, if only we have the will.

Detroit skyline

Detroit skyline (Photo credit: Bernt Rostad)

But retirees, and anyone who expects to retire in the future, ought to be nervous about the shock waves from the Detroit bankruptcy. How many other cities, big and small, will have their credit ratings reduced? How many more will follow Detroit into bankruptcy? Not many, we may hope.

Continue reading

‘Back To Blood’ — Tom Wolfe On Men, Women, And Miami

John Hayden photo

John Hayden photo

Tom Wolfe’s tour of contemporary America continues in “Back To Blood.”

The Bonfire of the Vanities (film)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Wolfe’s other blockbusters — The Right Stuff, Bonfire Of The Vanities, and A Man In Full  Back To Blood focuses on Men and Manhood in the big cities of modern America. Wolfe has  vividly portrayed New York City and Atlanta. This time, the setting is Miami.

In Back To Blood, Wolfe writes about Real Men doing Real Work for the Right Reasons. The heroes are policemen, followed closely by newspapermen. Not a single female police officer or reporter in sight. Not exactly a politically correct portrayal of contemporary America!

Nestor Camacho is a young Cuban cop, intelligent and without guile, self-effacing and polite, god-fearing, muscular. Continue reading