CEO Paul Tash Says "Tampa Bay Times" Reflects Regional Identity

St. Petersburg Times CEO Paul Tash announcing the name change. (Photo: Scott Keeler/ St. Petersburg Times)
TAMPA (2011-12-29) -

St. Petersburg Times CEO Paul Tash still remembers “standing a little taller” when he started at the newspaper more than 25 years ago.

So it makes sense he feels a little wistful at his paper’s name change to the Tampa Bay Times on January 1.

In an interview with WUSF, Tash said the benefits of regionalism far outweigh the traditional name.

“I fully appreciate the heritage and I have great reverence for the banner we’ve carried now for more than 100 years,” Tash said.

“But I also have great anticipation for what we will achieve as we raise the new banner.”

Tash says the new name better reflects a newspaper where three-quarters of readers live outside St. Petersburg.

“If we want the entire Tampa Bay region to embrace us, we need a name that embraces the entire Tampa Bay region,” he said.

“In the world of journalism, that name, the St. Pete Times, has been kind of a boutique brand.

“But we also live in the world of Tampa Bay. So when folks move into Lutz or Carrollwood or Palm Harbor, they should be greeted by a newspaper that reflects their own lives,” Tash said.

He also said the decision to become the Tampa Bay Times drives the effort for more regionalism. Other examples include the airport, where destinations are listed as “Tampa Bay,” and the area’s three professional sports teams.

The name change comes after a legal battle with rival newspaper The Tampa Tribune, which argued “Tampa Bay Times” infringed on its trademark.

When the name change was announced, Tribune publisher Denise Palmer said she wasn’t worried about the competition. She noted that the Tribune had more readers in Hillsborough County.

"We're in our 117th year of being Tampa's hometown newspaper," she said. "The St. Pete Times can try to be everyone's paper for Tampa Bay, but we'll always cover the stories that matter to Tampa's readers better than anyone else."

Tash told WUSF the two newspapers have a “very different concept of how the area will grow.

“The Tampa Tribune believes there are separate areas that will remain separate. We really believe that the Tampa Bay regional identity becomes ever more important,” he said.

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