The Editor's Desk

Thoughts on editing for print and digital media

Month: January, 2012

Guest post: Advanced fact checking for advanced editors

Stephanie Willen Brown is the director of the Park Library at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. In this post, she offers some tips for editors fact-checking stories about North Carolina communities.

I had the great pleasure of demonstrating some advanced fact-checking tools for Andy’s JOMC 457 students/editors. As our students have hundreds of terrific resources available to them, the first thing I did was create a web page of UNC and North Carolina resources relevant to their needs.

The biggest fact-checking tool is a good, local librarian who can help editors and reporters find reliable data sources for local topics. In the case of JOMC 457, that local librarian is me, so I selected some North Carolina government resources helpful relevant to coverage of Durham and Carrboro.

First up, the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Corporation Search. From here, you can get annual reports from North Carolina companies, which will help you find when they were incorporated and who their directors are. You could also go fishing for a story by searching the companies created or dissolved in the past month, by county.

Another handy local tool is the Durham (NC) Crime Mapper; you can get data for such crimes as arson, assault, burglary, homicide, larceny, motor vehicle theft, robbery and rape. Search by address, police district, or citywide. We wondered in class about the police district breakdowns, and here is a PDF map of the districts.

Many states and counties have similar tools — both for finding corporation information within a state and for finding crime data by town and neighborhood. Check with your local librarian to see if what’s available in your area.

I also showed the student editors some national tools that provide census data down to the local level. American Factfinder is my favorite of these; it will give you 2010 census data at the state, county, town, and even neighborhood level. One interesting piece of comparative data is the number of people using public transportation to get to work: In Carrboro, in 2010, 1,750 indicated they did so, or 16.3% of the population; in Durham, in 2010, 3,892 did so, or 3.1% of the population.

Finally, I showed some sources for confirming facts. We UNC folks have online access to a directory called the Encyclopedia of Associations, which will help editors and reporters find experts in a variety of areas, such as SEEDS, which helps “neighborhoods and communities create sustainable green spaces for gardening, gathering and education.”

The book “Famous First Facts” was the big hit with the class — it would be a great resource to settle bar bets, as one student suggested. It offers answers to questions you didn’t know you had, such first “chemotherapy to successfully achieve remission of cancer;” the first Spider-Man comic-book; and the first “chess grandmaster who was African-American” (answers here, or in your library). This book is in over 2,000 libraries across the United States, and it was one of the first books I purchased for my newspaper library back in 1996 (I served as library director for a newspaper in Springfield, Mass., then the Springfield Union-News, online now as MassLive).

The big takeaway for these editors is: Librarians are a great resource for journalists. I hope students will consult the library resource page I created for them, and I look forward to working with them in person as they edit the Carrboro Commons and the Durham Voice this semester.

Read Stephanie Willen Brown’s blog and follow her on Twitter.

Student guest post: Unicode and you, and what to do with weird band names

Students in JOMC 457, Advanced Editing, are writing guest posts for this blog this semester. This is the second of those posts. Joe Chapman is a senior from Asheville, N.C. He is the editor of the Diversions section in The Daily Tar Heel, and he has a keen interest in both music and journalism.

GL▲SS †33†H. Gr†ll Gr†ll. ℑ⊇◊⊆ℜ. Perhaps more recognizably, Spın̈al Tap (See: metal umlaut.) These are all band names that would be virtually impossible to propagate without the use of copy-paste. While an accented ‘e’ or umlauted ‘a’ will occasionally make its way into a story with words such as café or doppelgänger, band names like ///▲▲▲\\\ present a challenge for editors — how do you handle using these bizarre foreign characters in print and online?

Now here’s a headline for you: In 2010, The Guardian wrote on its music blog about the bands whose /\/ /\ /\/\ € $ were made out of $ ¥ /\/\ ß 0 \ $. While the headline is a little bold, it serves the article well. But its use of non-standard characters has me wondering how many people could actually see the headline and the band names in the article.

I’m going to spare you the technical history of rendering fonts on computers, the problems with multibyte character lengths and how they were fixed and the different standards for character encoding, but it’s a good read, I promise. Instead, let me say this: There’s a protocol browsers use to render text called UTF-8. UTF-8 is useful because it’s capable of rendering pretty much every single character from any language.

But just because your browser uses UTF-8 doesn’t mean you can start seeing ★★★.

Printing special characters is easy: All you need is a font that has support for the characters you need (and most Adobe fonts have support for at least the Latin alphabet). If for some reason all your computer has installed is the old version of Courier, there are plenty of open source alternatives for rendering special characters.

But rendering these characters online presents a problem. Practically no computer has the same set of fonts installed, and there is no font anywhere near supporting every UTF-8 character. The ‘look of disapproval’ emoticon and meme, for example, renders improperly on the majority of Apple computers running Safari.

ಠ_ಠ If you’re stuck seeing squares or question marks, unfortunately your browser doesn’t have adequate UTF-8 compatibility. If you see a rather unamused, glaring emoticon, congratulations — you’re using a modern browser with an adequate font library. (And the look of disapproval is probably unwarranted. I apologize).

Japanese emoticons make interesting use of special characters as well. 。◕ ‿ ◕。

So how do you decide if it’s appropriate to use special characters on your website? It comes down to knowing your audience.

Browsers with red columns have known issues with rendering more commonly used special characters.

While Internet Explorer 9 is much more robust in handling UTF-8, 15 percent of all Internet users still use an older version of IE. In IE’s default settings, Times New Roman is used to render Latin characters. And that’s a shame, because Times New Roman barely has any support for special characters.

So without some fiddling on the user’s end, they’ll be seeing question marks when you try and render a hip band name. (Similarly with Safari: the S5 works just fine, but there are still some stragglers using older versions.)

A quick and dirty fix would be to save a small, slim image of the band name and insert the image in line with the text. Or, just do what GL▲SS †33†H does with its bandcamp URL and get as close as you can in plain English.

Ask your website administrator to break down your viewers’ browser usage. If your website uses any sort of analytics software, it’s probably recording what browser people use each time they visit your site. If you have a high percentage of users with modern browsers — browsers like Chrome and Firefox are suited to handle most special characters out of the box — then you’re probably safe using nontraditional characters.

For me, bands like GL▲SS †33†H don’t really take it far enough. If I had to come up with a band name and I was feeling particularly sadistic, I’d probably go with something that would be a little more devastating to a website’s markup than black squares or interrobangs.

There are certain unicode characters out there that are instructional, non-characters and allow for text to be written vertically or backwards for special languages, like Arabic or Thaana. When combining the instructional characters with symbols from the runic alphabet, you can break text out of its bound space, and come up with something that look like you’re ripping a hole in the matrix.

Good luck getting this in print:

Ķ̥̥̹̗̭̗̻̫̳̝̦̫̭͇̖̾̋̋̓̈ͪ̏͊ͧ͑̊͊ͪͮ̚͟ͅE̶̝̫̖̭̤̘͙͒̒̆͋ͯ̂̄͐ͥ̈ͫ͑̄͂ͥ͞͡͠N̛̟̣̯ͤ͌̇ͧ̿̇̉͊͋͗̒ͨ͑̄ͯ̿͋̕͝ͅN̶̨͇͓͇̠̻̗͈̪̝͓͚ͨͩ̑ͤͧ̿͑͗́͘͡Y̨̨̛͍̙̜̖͑̋̋͋̋ͣ̔ͣ’̸̷͎̳̙̬̲̞͇̖͓̘̳̘͎̭̗̬͊̌́̄̉̇̾̐̌̚ͅͅS̴̶̞̮̘̱͕̣̲̭̠͔̝̦͉̪̭͓̉ͦ͋ͩ̃ͥ͛̈́͋͝

̵̵̴̤̹͇̮̼̱͙̜̱̝̠̟̯͍̜̗̼̞̒̋͑͌̽̅̍̕͡W̵̛͍̘̲̦͓̝͒̄̽̇ͬͧ̍ͫ̿̓̋̅̈́͆ͮ͒̚̚Ő̷ͧ̄̔̀ͥ̑͌͆ͧ̂̃̌ͧͧͣ͡͏͎̼͙̗͈̦͕̝̦̣̱͔̺͉͞ͅR̵ͤͧ̐̾͂̐̐͒̋̓͘҉̬̩͔̹L̶̖͉͇̟̫͍͈̹̞̖͙̯̤͐ͣ̄̓͘ͅḐ̷̶̡̗͕̺͓͂ͬͦ́̉ͩͤ̎

͊̎̂ͥͥ̑̽̇́̌͌͐ͬ̏̾̆͆ͤ͏̶̵̶̰͖̫̖̘͍̮̻̲̱̟̫͖̗̳̖̤͇͞O̡̢̧͇̳̥̜̭̲ͣͬ̿̉͐̿ͣͫ̀͠F̷̧̛̲̼̹͔̪̘̥̥̫̥͓̭͖̭̃ͨ́̈́̅́̉ͮ̐ͣ́͐ͮͮ̚͜͝

̴̥͔̺̮̪̝̯̥̻͇̤ͣͯͦ́͂ͮ̿̆ͯ͑ͦ̏͋̾̌̀̚B̶̸̻͎͈̭̱̳͍̗̥͉̙̳̌̌ͦ̿͒́E̛̛̛͖̬̼̙̬͈͖̭͇̞̤̖̟̺̙̭͈̐ͪ͋ͬ̄̿̈́ͫ̄ͯ̍̌ͮͪ͌̽͋͛͡E͎̘̱̲ͮͥ̈ͫ̅ͯ͆͗ͧ͒́̚F̴̨̞̞̗̾ͩ̎̊̅̋ͬ͂̉ͧ̿̌̚̚̕

And yes, you can tweet that. But your friends are probably going to assume you’ve been thoroughly hacked.

Interested in getting special characters to work on older browsers? Wikipedia has some guidelines for you.

A gap in Gingrich coverage

Newt Gingrich taught history and geography at West Georgia College from 1970 to 1978. He was denied tenure, but it’s unclear why.

The primary season for the 2012 presidential race is less than a month old, and just four candidates remain. It’s been an intriguing contest so far, with Rick Santorum getting a delayed victory in Iowa, Mitt Romney winning in New Hampshire, and Newt Gingrich taking South Carolina.

Gingrich’s triumph in South Carolina may have been propelled by his answer to a question about his extramarital affairs. His candidacy also got a boost from Romney’s indecision on whether to release his tax returns. Romney has now agreed to make those documents public.

Although the media have focused a great deal on Gingrich’s personal life and his career in Congress, they have given scant coverage to other aspects of his professional life — namely, his time in academia in the 1970s.

Gingrich’s experience as a college professor is occasionally mentioned in the press, and he has discussed his expertise as a historian regarding his work with Freddie Mac. Yet, little attention has been paid to one of Gingrich’s professional failings: West Georgia College’s denial of tenure in 1978.

A recent column in the Anniston Star offers a glimpse of Gingrich as an academic. The writer, one of Gingrich’s colleagues at that time, says that Gingrich was a gifted and provocative teacher.

Excellence in teaching alone, however, is not enough for a faculty member to be granted tenure. Professors are expected to create knowledge by conducting research and having the results published in books, journals and other outlets. Faculty members must also perform service such as advising student organizations and doing administrative work.

The Star column hints that Gingrich spent too much time on politics and not enough on research. But it doesn’t offer details. A story by the Wall Street Journal profiles Gingrich’s days in academia, but doesn’t directly address the tenure decision. What happened exactly?

That’s where the media need to step in now. Gingrich’s time in academia is as relevant to his candidacy as his marriages, if not more so. Tenure decisions may not be as salacious as bitter divorces, but they speak to a person’s capabilities to accept and meet challenges in the workplace. A denial of tenure is a failure of sorts, and it needs to be explained.

Leroy Towns, my former colleague here at UNC-Chapel Hill and a longtime staffer on Capitol Hill, put it this way in a direct message on Twitter: “A candidate’s job history is important information to voters. If a candidate is turned down for tenure, voters need to know why.”

I agree, and I hope that editors and reporters at newspapers, magazines and websites will too.

Guest post: Leading the movement, one editor at a time

Students in JOMC 457, Advanced Editing, are writing guest posts for this blog this semester. This is the first of those posts. Maggie Cagney is a senior from Chicago, and she is specializing in reporting at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The world of journalism is always changing. No longer must we go to the local grocery store to pick up a newspaper for $1.25 — we can read it on our laptops in the comfort of our own homes. No longer must we scan the front page of one newspaper for the major headlines of the day — we can visit Twitter and access every major headline of the day from numerous news organizations.

Some people fear that print publications are fading fast. I say the possibilities are endless.

From the aggregation of news on social media sites to the opportunities blogs provide for anyone who wishes to share their voice, the means of communication are expanding. And we are experiencing it firsthand as editors in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. As editors of The Carrboro Commons and Durham Voice, part print and part online local publications, the world of journalism is in our hands. We, as UNC Professor Jock Lauterer says, are doing something larger than contributing to a community newspaper — this is live fire.

As editors of a community newspaper, we are the mechanics of the news business, says Jim Roberts, assistant managing editor of The New York Times. Community journalism will never die, and we make that possible.

Many people believe that the men and women behind the scenes do not have an important role. But as someone who has experience both on and off the stage, our role as editors is equally important.

When I pick up a newspaper, my eyes immediately go to the headlines. I look to see whether the pictures and their placement are visually compelling. I take note of the layout — a newspaper with an overbearing amount of text that is not broken up by pictures, headlines and textboxes doesn’t work for me.

As an editor, having the ability to look at a newspaper and find what works and what doesn’t is a powerful thing. But what is more important is putting those thoughts into action and doing it in the most creative way possible.

The field of journalism is moving toward new means of communication, and as editors, it is our job to develop innovative ways to share news with our audience. Our generation grew up with so many valuable social media tools that make change beautiful, but it takes more than an understanding of these tools.

We must challenge what is put in front of us, as Roberts said in a recent visit to our editing class. Take, for example, a New York Times’ slideshow of the American forces leaving Iraq. The pictures, the soldiers’ faces and the movement, tell the story better than 800 words of text. This is our chance to be the change in journalism, and to create something that stands out for its creativity.

A career goal of mine has always been to write something that is life-changing. That is my goal as a reporter.

But my goal as an editor is to create something that is life-changing. I want to create a sequence of photos for a news organization that will be remembered for its visual impact. I want to create a front-page headline that evokes some sort of reaction from my audience, whether the reaction is joy, anger or inspiration.

As editors, we have the chance to inspire and produce something that is more than just words. And with the proliferation of blogs and news websites, many doors have opened for us. It is our time to lead the movement toward new means of communication. It is our time to be as creative as we can in nontraditional ways. It is our time to light the fire.

Call for papers: ACES Award for Research on Editing

The Newspaper and Online News Division of AEJMC invites faculty and students to submit research papers in the inaugural competition for the ACES Award For Research On Editing.

Sponsored by the American Copy Editors Society, the award will honor the best research about story editing, headline writing and other topics related to editing. The winner will present the research at the AEJMC conference in Chicago, August 9-12, 2012. The winner will also receive a $100 prize and complementary registration to the ACES conference for the following year.

Qualitative and quantitative papers in history, law, effects, processes, use, ethics and emerging technologies are welcome.

Papers may not be longer than 25 pages, excluding tables, figures and references. Papers must be submitted electronically no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) April 1, 2012.

All submissions will be blind refereed by a panel of independent readers. Authors will be notified whether their papers have been accepted and will receive a copy of the reviewers’ comments by May 15, 2012.

Papers are accepted on the understanding they have not been presented or published elsewhere and are not under consideration by a scholarly journal or by another scholarly or trade organization at the time of submission. Papers cannot be submitted to more than one AEJMC division, nor to both the regular research competition and to a special call for papers.

Submission of papers: All entries should follow the AEJMC Uniform Call for Papers. Three especially important points of this call that contributors should note are that:

1. ACES competition papers must be marked “ACES Competition” on the title page (and only the title page.) Papers should be submitted online under either the MacDougall Student Paper Competition or the General Call, whichever is appropriate.

2. All papers must be submitted electronically; no hard copy will be accepted and

3. Papers with any sort of identifying information will be automatically disqualified.

Full instructions on submitting papers are posted on the AEJMC Website at http://www.aejmcchicago.org/papers/.

Q&A with Brooke Cain, N&O researcher and blogger

Brooke Cain is a news researcher, reporter and blogger for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. Cain, who has undergraduate and master’s degrees from N.C. State University, has been at the N&O since 1992. In this interview, conducted by email, Cain talks about her job, social media and the future of the N&O.

Q. You have many roles at the News & Observer. Describe your typical workday.

A. I do some research for the newsroom, write for the print edition and for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and also do some archiving. How much blogging I do depends on what else is going on in the newsroom that day.

Oftentimes, I can be in the middle of writing my own story and have to stop to look up something for someone else in the newsroom, so it can definitely be a challenge to stay focused. If I have a story to file or interviews to do, I may have to do some blogging from home later. The only constant thing is that I feel like I start each day a little further behind than I was the day before, but I’m definitely not alone in that.

Q. How do you decide what to blog about, and what role do editors play in that?

A. For the most part, I blog about whatever I want, as long as it’s TV-related. I think the only time editors have ever asked for specific blog content was during Scotty McCreery’s rise on “American Idol” — and I would have blogged about Scotty anyway (and still do sometimes) because of the local angle. Thad Ogburn, who is the Metro Editor and also a Warm TV contributor, did a lot of the Scotty blogging.

Despite my personal TV tastes, if a TV show or story has a local angle, I give it top priority. If Evan Rachel Wood is nominated for a Golden Globe, it’s going in the blog. If someone in Fuquay-Varina is on “Wheel of Fortune” and I know about it, it’s going in the blog.

We also try to do reviews for major new TV series as much as we can. Pop Culture editor Adrienne Johnson and I usually try to divide those up for Warm TV. We don’t do as many recaps as we did in the beginning, just because of time constraints, but again, if there’s a local angle, we try to catch those.

And we have a couple of very nice unpaid correspondents who enjoy recapping some of the reality competition shows, and those are popular. I really wish I had more time during the day to devote to the TV stuff, because that’s my favorite.

Q. How do you use social media as part of your job?

A. It’s really incredible how much easier my job is with Twitter alone.

In the olden days, I’d waste so much time trolling around various sites looking for something interesting to write about or just trying to keep up with the latest media news. With Twitter, I check one place and it’s all there — instantly! It has been invaluable. And of course, it’s a great networking tool.

Maybe more than anything, I think it’s a wonderful way to interact with readers and a way to show ourselves as active members of the community, not just robots tweeting links to stories. I also like that with Twitter, I can let my personality come across a little more.

Q. You’ve seen many changes during your career at the N&O. How do you think the paper will change in the years ahead?

A. Oh, if I had that particular crystal ball, I’d be sitting in Sacramento calling the shots. Honestly, I wish I knew. I do think the N&O will always be around in some form.

I remember going over to the NandO offices in the early 1990s to see a demonstration of this crazy new thing called the World Wide Web and thinking it was incredible and exciting, but still never could have imagined then what it has become and what it has meant — both good and bad — for our industry. I’m no good at predictions, but if I may be allowed to hope, my hope for all newspapers is that someone figures out a sustainable financial model that allows there to be both print and online editions so that we can reach everyone who wants news in the way they want to receive it.

One of my short-term hopes specifically for the N&O is that we develop stronger mobile products and that we’re smart about evolving technologies so that we are ready to roll with changes as they come.

Is that asking too much?

UPDATE: In June 2013, Cain was named assistant features editor at the N&O.

What I am teaching this semester

The spring semester here at UNC-Chapel Hill begins next week. I’m teaching two sections of News Editing and one section of Advanced Editing.

I’ll use this blog on occasion to post materials for those courses. In addition, students in the advanced class will submit guest posts this semester.

Let’s get started. Here is the syllabus for News Editing, JOMC 157, and a handout of names in the news. And here is the syllabus for Advanced Editing, JOMC 457. All are PDFs.

Feel free to download, share and modify these materials. I welcome suggestions on what to add, subtract in future semesters.

Best wishes to instructors and students everywhere on a successful spring!

Q&A with R.L. Bynum, editor and proofreader at AICPA

R.L. Bynum is a former newspaper editor who now works at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Durham, N.C. Before joining AICPA in 2010, Bynum was a copy editor and page designer at the Daily Press newspaper in Virginia, and he also worked in sports departments at several newspapers in North Carolina, including the Herald-Sun in Durham. In this interview, conducted by email, Bynum discusses his job, the transition from newspapers and his use of social media.

Q. Describe your job with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. What do you do on a typical day?

A. I proofread all material produced by the Graphic Design team at the AICPA. That includes all sorts of publications such as annual reports, white papers, brochures, conference programs, conference signs and application kits. Some of these can be as small as 2 or 3 pages and others can be 30 or 40 pages.

I copy edit all manuscripts before they go to the designer, proof the PDFs before they go to the clients and review any client changes before they go to the designer. I also proof/copy edit dues letters and various other sorts of small jobs.

I’m the only proofreader on a team that includes a copy writer and five designers. There is a freelance proofreader who helps with certain jobs and when the work load is excessive.

It can get fairly busy, but there is nothing approaching the deadline pressure that was routine during my years in newspapers. At a newspaper, a rush could mean turning around a breaking story in minutes. On my team, a rush job may mean that it needs to be done in two days.

Q. Before this job, you worked in newspapers for more than 20 years. What has that transition been like?

A. While there usually are more hours to my workweek (most weeks at least 45), the distribution of those hours is a pleasant change. I definitely don’t miss working nights, weekends (although I do occasionally have work to do on a weekend) and holidays.

Working 8 a.m. to around 5:30 p.m. gives me a lot more time with my family as well. I had the entire week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day for the first time in 29 years. The pace of work is quite different, but it was an easy adjustment.

There’s no doubt that I miss many aspects of working at a newspaper and the rush of working the desk when news is breaking. I miss being a journalist. The job security certainly makes up for that, and it’s nice not bracing for the next round of layoffs. There were six in five years that I survived before finally being laid off by the Tribune newspaper in Newport News, Va., along with nearly all desk people.

When I accepted the job at the AICPA, I canceled an interview with a Mid-Atlantic Gannett newspaper for a copy editing job that would have paid better. I had just been laid off and was very paranoid about joining another chain, particularly that one. A few months later, I found out that the person who would have interviewed me had been laid off.

Q. You are critic of sports media, including the News & Observer’s sports section and ESPN. What do you see as their shortcomings and areas for improvement?

A. On the surface, it probably appears that my criticism of the N&O and other newspapers is directed at the copy editors and designers. But I’m really more upset with the newspaper executives who seem to think that that fewer, younger desk people with double the workload can produce quality newspapers. It obviously can only cause problems, and we’re seeing that many days in the pages of the N&O, particularly in sports.

Combining two bad ideas — universal desks and regional desks — produces bad results. Certainly the copy editors and designers could produce cleaner sections, but mistakes are bound to happen when you’re putting out multiple newspapers every night.

The content, for the most part, is good. It’s just the packaging that often is irritating. The way to fix it is to have more copy editors and a more experienced desk, but we know that McClatchy isn’t going to do that. Even if it did that, it wouldn’t reclaim all of the institutional knowledge that was let go.

A lot of little mistakes frequently happen that shouldn’t. Stories routinely are jumped in the middle of a word (which is very irritating for readers). I’ve seen scoreboard pages in which the sport header is at the BOTTOM of one column, which obviously is a brutal break.

The N&O is far from the only media outlet that makes silly mistakes. I tweet examples from NBC News and ESPN on a fairly regular basis.

Mistakes happen, and I certainly made my share over the years working at newspapers. But there definitely seem to be many more in the N&O since it lost the Raleigh copy desk.

Q. You describe yourself as a “reformed newspaper man.” Any advice for those going through a similar change?

A. Experienced newspaper people, particularly those with a mixture of reporting and desk experience, have skills that are marketable outside of newspapers. It’s not easy to find those jobs, but they are out there.

Networking really is more productive in that pursuit than checking job listings. My advice is to work your professional network as much as possible as you try to find the opening that helps you escape from insanity that the newspaper business has become.

Follow R.L. Bynum on Twitter and check out his blog.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

It will always be the St. Pete Times to me

Today marks the debut of a newspaper in Florida. Well, it’s new at least in name.

The St. Petersburg Times is now the Tampa Bay Times. The newspaper announced the change a couple of months ago. Its leadership says that the new label better reflects its reach and scope.

When I first heard of the change, I had a flashback to the summer of 2007. I was in St. Petersburg for several days to work on a course for Poynter’s News University.

During my stay, I shopped for a souvenir for my son, and I picked up a piggy bank in the form of a newspaper vending machine. The newspaper portrayed on the bank is the St. Petersburg Times, and the bank sits on my son’s dresser to this day.

So while I wish the Tampa Bay Times well, the newspaper will always be the St. Pete Times to me. And you can take that to the bank.

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