The Ledger pressroom

Misfortune at Florida’s largest newspaper means new business for The Ledger in Lakeland. The publisher of the Tampa Bay Times announced today it will close its St. Petersburg production facility, eliminate 150 jobs there, reduce salaries for remaining workers and transfer printing to the Lakeland newspaper’s presses.

Times Publishing Co. signed a three-year production contract with Gannett, The Ledger’s owner, The Times reported. The Ledger already prints several other newspapers: Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other Gannett publications.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article reported incorrectly that the extra printing load has forced The Ledger to produce its local product much earlier. The Ledger’s director of commercial printing has since told us that The Ledger is the last publication printed nightly and the local newspaper’s shift to earlier deadlines is unrelated to additional printing business.

As a long slide in newspaper advertising revenues was deepened by the pandemic, The Times in April reduced its print edition to twice a week — on Sundays and Wednesdays — and will likely maintain that schedule, according to a writer for The Poynter Institute, the non-profit journalism research organization that owns The Times.

Times employees whose jobs are being eliminated have been given a required 60-day notice, the newspaper reported. In the interim, Gannett will expand its Lakeland operation and some jobs here could go to Times employees, the newspaper said.

In an irony, The Ledger and Times Publishing Co. in 2016 competed for a contract to print the now-defunct Tampa Tribune. Tribune executives said they were on the verge of signing a deal with The Ledger when it was called off by the newspaper’s owners.

The owners later announced that they were selling The Tribune to Times Publishing Co., which promptly closed their long-time competitor. The Tampa Bay Times became the last remaining newspaper in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, a territory that was home to five daily newspapers in the 1970s.

With the decrease in print production, The Times has been promoting its website and e-edition, a daily update that resembles the print newspaper.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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  1. Despise the super liberal slanted St Pete Times (aka Tampa Bay Times) I have been subscribing but only for the coupons and comics and puzzles. I may have reached my limits on their lies and misinformation and no longer subscribe in the near future. What a shame this is our only newspaper

  2. To clarify, The Ledger is the last daily publication printed each night, generally rolling up between 11:30-Midnight. Any past or current changes to editorial deadlines are unrelated to additional production being taken on.

  3. I was just wondering about the deadlines. I noticed they have been moved back. If there is no way to public timely news, we have a problem in Polk County.

  4. I was a Long Time subscriber to the Tampa Tribune and the St Pete then the Tampa Bay Times! Unfortunately, their extremely slanted and biased view of the world especially along political viewing lines bent so Far to One Side and Liberal that last year after 40yrs of loyal subscribing I could No Longer Deal with the Lies and over the top idiocy of the reporting which at one time was some of the Best! And coming from NYC with the NYT, Post, Daily News, Newsday and a few other smaller publications I have read some of the best and greatest writers of all time. But, over the last 20yrs, I have seen a steady downturn in the quality of writing and publishing skills and thus last year was my final year of suffering with the nasty,rude, ridiculous articles. If I ever hear that they have changed their line of thought and returned to the combination of Liberal and conservative writers and writing that was once a stellar talking point of that wonderful, incredible old newspaper from the 70’s and 80’s when I first moved down here I will be the First one in line to resubscribe!

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