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Opinion

Newspaper lays off 165; opinion site launches

Monday was both a happy and sad time for Florida journalism. The Tampa Tribune's corporate owner, Media General,  announced the layoff of 165 employees, including scores of journalists, from the Tribune and related print publications.

But it also brought the launch of a new online publication, "Florida Voices."

The two events were not directly related, but they both stem from the continuing erosion of newspapers' financial base. 'Voices' is the brain child of two former Tampa Tribune editors: Rosemary Goudreau, who was editor of the editorial section, and Rosemary Curtiss, who edited the Pasco edition.

I have known Goudreau for many years, and we had the opportunity to re-connect when I was covering the healthcare industry for the Tribune's business section 2006-07.  She tells me that the editorial section has dwindled from 11 to three. Sad.

The Rosemarys have created a wonderful venue for opinions. There seems to be more appetite for opinions than for hard news these days, so maybe they will prosper. I hope so.

What of the reporters and editors who lost their jobs? There is unlikely to be a happy ending. Most who have been forced out in this wrenching, slow-motion death of print news media are still looking for work or have gone into pseudo-news, writing press releases for financial or ideological interests..

Such a terrible loss. And the American people don't even seem to care.

--Health News Florida is an independent online publication dedicated to public-interest journalism. Contact Carol Gentry, editor, at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail