Trying Times for Tribsters

It sounds more like a seminar at the Poynter Institute, but the St. Pete Times Forum is the name downtown is now stuck with for the Ice Palace. But no one, of course, is stuck more than the Tampa Tribune . Its reporters and editors will be forced to mention the St. Pete Times Forum in copy about major concerts, Lightning games and maybe even a GOP coronation. Ouch.

For anyone keeping score, the House of Chutzpah is merely the latest Times’ coup in what has long ceased being a newspaper war. For too long the Times has cherry-picked Trib staffers and outhustled the competition on metro stories. It also planted its flag atop a downtown Tampa office building and debuted the weekly CityTimes .

The Times , which can be arrogant, self-righteous and journalistically first rate, is also promotionally pugnacious and street smart. Witness the sponsorship arrangements with Cento Ybor and International Plaza. Now this. Even its naming rights-announcing press release, which didn’t deign to disclose relevant information about financial terms, couldn’t resist lobbing another round across the bow of the Trib .

Paul Tash, the Times’ editor and president, fired off a vintage, take-advantage-of-this-high-profile-local-news-story quote. “This deal demonstrates that the Tampa Bay area is growing steadily into a single metro region,” matter-of-factly noted Tash, who didn’t stop there. “And that the St. Petersburg Times is the premier newspaper for that region,” he then sniffed.

At least no one was editorially asleep for the Trib . The self-serving second part of Tash’s quote never saw the light of Trib print. So there.

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