Media General, NY Times Unite In Tampa Bay

By: Wayne Robins

Convergence? Media General Inc. and the New York Times Co. will show you convergence.

The two multimedia conglomerates announced a partnership across three platforms — their newspapers, Web sites, and TV stations in the area around Tampa Bay on Florida’s Gulf Coast — for “content sharing, cross promotion, and co-sponsored events,” according to a joint release by the companies.

Richmond, Va.-based Media General brings The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com, WFLA-TV (a broadcast TV station), and a number of other area print entities to the partnership, while the Times Co. has the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, heraldtribune.com, and SNN (a cable TV news channel).

“We have significantly more eyes out there collecting news for us, and so do they,” WFLA News Director Forrest Carr told E&P.

The Jan. 7 issue of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune featured a Page One story credited to reporters Andrew Meadows and Brenna R. Kelly of The Tampa Tribune, though the lede varied significantly from that on the TBO.com Web site.

How journalists for the melange of news organizations feel about this cross-editing remains to be seen, and one wonders if that sticky issue has been thought through.

Diane McFarlin, publisher of the Herald-Tribune, told E&P: “It will deepen our content mix in a meaningful way. There are marketing possibilities, of course, but we have not explored them.”

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