The Tampa Tribune still the hometown newspaper
The region is buzzing with speculation about how the sale of The Tampa Tribune might affect the newspaper and the community it has served since the 1890s. Here's what our readers should know: The new owner, Tampa Media Group Inc., is committed to maintaining The Tampa Tribune's role as the hometown newspaper. The operation will be locally based and controlled.The Los Angeles-based Revolution Capital Group, in buying the Tribune, formed Tampa Media Group specifically to ensure local focus. The Tribune is now a stand-alone company. Decisions will be made in Tampa, based on what best serves Tampa readers and advertisers. The newspaper business is not a passing fancy for the members of our new ownership team. They are not looking to simply "flip" the property or harvest quick profits. They value the Tribune's deep roots and key role in the community and intend to build on its 117-year-old foundation. The Tribune's top management will remain the same and continue to report to Publisher Bill Barker. There will be some changes, of course, as the operation looks to grow business and meet the needs of the rapidly changing news market, where digital media is becoming pre-eminent. But the owners have made clear their first emphasis will be on high-quality news coverage and a strong local voice. Here on the editorial pages, you can count on our viewpoint remaining the same, conservative in outlook but independent and nonpartisan. We will continue to judge issues on their merits, not through a prism of partisan politics or ideology. This newspaper is proud of our long history of defending the public's interests, both on our editorial page and news pages, regardless of the political fallout. In the 1950s, this newspaper coined the term Pork Chop Gang to describe the group of powerful North Florida legislators who cared little about the potential for growth in Tampa, Orlando and Miami. When underfunded school districts were forced to smother schoolyards with portable classrooms, we campaigned for state help. Yet we also championed Gov. Jeb Bush's efforts to hold public schools accountable for students' performance. We have strongly defended Florida's natural beauty, and fought hard to restore the waters of Tampa Bay, and to keep oil rigs away from our sandy shores. We've also highlighted the excessive raises and benefits for public employees, and questioned the extravagantly costly design of the Art Museum, a design the city scrapped. The ownership change won't affect our commitment to open government, fair taxation, better transportation, public education and civic improvement. It won't diminish our obligation to highlight opposing views. Every day on our pages our letter writers debate the issues of the moment, and columnists represent the entire political spectrum. We will soon be completing our editorial endorsements for the November election, a time-consuming process many newspapers have abandoned. We have interviewed more than 100 candidates, so we can base our evaluations on more than 30-second sound bites. But beyond helping us determine which candidates to recommend, the process enables us to hear a wide range of ideas and learn more about many community issues and leaders. Our prior owners, Media General Inc., encouraged such grass-roots connections. Tampa Media Group plans to enhance local involvement. We understand that a newspaper really belongs to its readers, and our job is to serve you. That means delivering much more than amusement. The better informed we citizens are on all aspects of local life, the better we will govern ourselves. Like most newspapers, The Tampa Tribune has had its share of economic challenges in recent years. But its sale to new owners with a firm commitment to the newspaper and the region should ensure that we serve you for many years to come.