I need to say something about my bureau, which occupies the seventh floor of an office building in Tampa, down the street from the headquarters of a competing newspaper that, unlike ours, bears the name of the city we cover. We’re a collection of interns, editorial assistants, reporters, photographers, editors and a researcher who band together when a big story breaks, covering it as a team. There are no byline hogs, no divas. Our stories can bear four names, even more contrib lines. Our biggest last summer had a staff box of 20, with some help from our colleagues in St. Pete. I remember the newsroom in the hours and days after two police officers were murdered. The gunman remained at large. The city swarmed with the biggest manhunt in its history. And every time our boss caught wind of a Dontae Morris sighting, he’d just yell “Go!” and four people would run out the door. This month, we celebrated a huge honor: Our first-day spot news package won a prestigious National Headliner Award. Here’s the main story, anchored by the legendary Colleen Jenkins.
As I write this post, people are reading a 1A story this morning out of Tampa with six names attached, each having read some of 745 pages of police documents and three having literally crowded around a computer racing deadline to finish the final draft. I love my bureau.