News & Tech: Tampa Bay Times Forming Reader Panel

June 14, 2021

Article by: News & Tech

Tampa Bay Times Forming Reader Panel

The Tampa Bay Times is reaching out to readers for feedback. The paper is forming a committee of subscribers who can share their thoughts directly with the paper, the paper reports. The Tampa Bay Times Community Reader Panel will be made up of people who “we will count upon to provide honest feedback about our journalism and to serve as a sounding board for ideas,” says the paper.

The paper foresees about 25 to 30 people, regular Times readers, who will meet quarterly on a volunteer basis. “When the group gathers, we’ll discuss specific topics, such as our coverage of politics, education, health or the justice system, and invite reaction to our most recent work. There will be opportunities to brainstorm about a wider range of issues and challenges,” says the paper. The Times is a for-profit news organization owned by the nonprofit Poynter Institute.

Pulitzer Winners Named

The Pulitzer Prize doesn’t seem to garner the same attention it did in years past, but those who want to see a list of winners of the prestigious prize for 2021 may now do so. The 105th class of Pulitzer Prize winners in journalism, books, drama and music was announced June 11 after a postponement from the original announcement date of April 19. The New York Times and journalists from the Star Tribune, Boston Globe, Reuters, Tampa Bay Times, Kansas City Star, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Indianapolis Star and the Invisible Institute were among the winners in journalism.

USPS Touts Service Improvements

The U.S. Postal Service has been in the news recently as newspaper industry advocates such as the News Media Alliance have raised alarms on possible rate increases. The National Newspaper Association has raised concerns about service standards. For its part, USPS has provided service performance data for the week of May 29 through June 4, 2021. During the period, First-Class Mail and Periodicals experienced positive improvement in service delivery, says USPS, while Marketing Mail saw a slight decline. Key performance indicators for the week of May 29th include:

First-Class Mail: 89.95 percent of First-Class Mail was delivered on time, a 1.06 percent increase from the week of May 22.

Marketing Mail: 90.67 percent of Marketing Mail was delivered on time, a 1.29 percent decline from week of May 22.

Periodicals: 80.70 percent of Periodicals were delivered on time, a 1.31 percent increase from the week of May 22. Many community newspapers use the periodicals rate.
Service improvement for First-Class Mail and Periodicals for the week of May 29 can be attributed to the implementation of initiatives laid out under the Postal Service’s 10-year plan “Delivering for America,” says USPS.

American Airlines Grounds In-flight Mag

American Airlines is ending its in-flight magazine American Way, which has flown on planes since 1966, The Dallas Morning News reported. The airline is headquartered in Fort Worth.
The magazine will cease publication at the end of June. Southwest Airlines ceased publishing its magazine in March 2020, says the paper. United Airlines’ Hemispheres is still being produced by American Way’s former publisher, Ink, which also creates materials for Amtrak, among others.

Wisconsin Media Group Buying Unified Newspaper Group

Wisconsin Media Group, an affiliate company of O’Rourke Media Group, has announced plans to acquire Unified Newspaper Group, which is owned by Woodward Communications, according to Randy Cope, of merger and acquisition firm Cribb, Greene & Cope, who represents Woodward Communications. The transaction is to close on June 30. Terms of the transaction were not released.
Unified Newspaper Group is composed of four weekly papers and digital websites that serve the communities of Oregon, Verona, Fitchburg and Stoughton, Wisconsin. Additionally, Unified Newspaper Group produces a shopper publication, a Hispanic publication and other niche/lifestyle publications and related events which are included in the transaction.

Woodward Communications acquired Stoughton Newspapers in 1993 and Schroeder Publications in 1998, which were  then brought together under the name Unified Newspaper Group.
“Joe Mathes (general manager of Wisconsin Media Group) and I are extremely excited about entering the Madison market with this excellent group of community newspapers and talented team that’s in place,” said Jim O’Rourke, CEO of O’Rourke Media Group.

More News

  •  Rupert Murdoch has written down the value of the Sun newspapers to nothing, The Guardian and others reported. Ad and sales revenues at the Sun and the Sun on Sunday have plunged, says The Guardian. More than 80% of the Sun’s losses were one-time charges related to a phone hacking scandal.
  • The parent company of the weekly Lakeland Times and its owner Gregg Walker have filed a libel suit against former Democratic Assembly candidate Kirk Bangstad, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.


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