FIRESALE: The Florida Times-Union now under new ownership

What should new owners do to return the TU to prominence?


How do you experience the Florida Times-Union?

Are you one to deadbolt the door of your Ponte Vedra Blvd-adjacent home after laying eyes on the “presumed innocent” faces of the newspaper’s BUSTED section? Or do the genteel-Liberal sensibilities of avuncular columnist Ron Littlepage help drown out the noise beyond your Riverside-Avondale historic bungalow? Perhaps you’re inspired to whoop a nativist holler, or fire off a few rounds into the sky over Westside Jacksonville upon reading the latest xenophobic treatise passed down from the paper’s Augusta, Georgia-based headquarters.

However you take your TU, your reading experience will likely change in the coming months, as the paper’s parent company agreed to sell all 11 of its daily newspapers to New Media Investment Group, the parent company of Gatehouse Media, Inc., according to the Associated Press.

The announcement of the sale made me think about when the TU endorsed Donald Trump for President. As one of the only large newspapers to do so, the TU certainly must have endorsed Trump for his having the best words, for his good brain, and for the fact that he has said many things, like “Covfefe” and “The failing New York Times.” And isn’t interesting, in light of the sale of the TU, that despite the fact that Trump says “The failing New York Times” that the New York Times is not failing and that it is not failing due in large part to its investment in investigative journalists who investigate Trump’s many false statements, which people seem to like and have responded to by purchasing subscriptions, which makes Trump look like a liar for saying “the failing New York Times.

To me that sounds very much like irony, but I can’t be sure because I am a child of the ‘90s and Alanis Morrissette has confused my understanding of the term and I am not Ethan Hawke and therefore cannot recite the definition, while half-paying attention to Winona Ryder.

It also seems very much like irony that the one large newspaper that endorsed Trump was very much failing. It had grown very thin and not full of ads, and was continuing to get thinner. It has very good reporters, who continue to do very good work, but they are few and overworked and underpaid and Morris Communications, instead of investing in resources for its very good TU reporters, decided to cut many newsroom jobs.

As Morris cut jobs it spent loads of money on a reader poll called “Bold City’s Best” because, up until then, the city only had Folio Weekly’s “Best of Jax” and Jacksonville Magazine’s “Best in Jax” and Void Magazine’s “#1 in the 904,” and small businesses love when these publications try and shake ‘em down for a full-page ad based on the results of these numerous reader’s polls.

So with Morris Communications — endorsers of Trump — no longer to blame for the failing Times-Union, what, dear SQUEALER readers should new owners, New Media Investment Group do to turn around the paper’s fortunes? Should they invest in journalists who will call out the President for lying? Should they create yet another reader’s poll? They must do something to save our beloved TU!

As the President actually said, “This American Carnage stops right here and stops right now!”

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