The Mario Blog
Print to dust: The Tampa Tribune

Sad to jog by Tampa’s beautiful Riverwalk and see the demolition of The Tampa Tribune building. End of an era and a rush of memories.

I already knew that The Tampa Tribune had ceased to exist. It happened May 3, 2016, when all-time rival, the Tampa Bay Times–formerly the St. Petersburg Times announced that it had acquired the Tribune, and was combining the Times and Tribune‘s operations, ending publication of the Tribune.  

Nobody is surprised anymore by such newspaper mergers and acquisitions, or for the closing of a newspaper title all together, sad as it is.

It is a different story, however, to be face to face with what was left of the once gloriously located Tampa Tribune building on the beautiful and welcoming Hillsborough River in Downtown Tampa.  That powerful wrecking ball was going at it heavily the morning that I happened to be in Tampa and doing a run around my neighborhood, in Harbour Island, off of Downtown Tampa. I confess that I had to stop, take a look, catch my breath and make a couple of photos that you see below.




The Tampa Tribune was, as its motto reminded us, “recording life daily” in Tampa since 1895. That’s a lot of life reporting all the way to 2016.  I came to Tampa to study journalism at the University of South Florida in 1967.

The Trib, as we journalism students affectionately referred to the newspaper, was part of our daily lessons, not the less because we in Tampa had the distinct privilege of living in a two-newspaper region. There was The Tampa Tribune and then, across the bay, The St. Petersburg Times.  A win win situation with two journalistically excellent newspapers, both Pulitzer Prize winners (The Tribune in 1966 for local investigative specialized reporting).  One could say that there were actually four newspapers in the region, as the Tribune had an afternoon newspaper, The Tampa Times, while the St. Petersburg Times had the St Petersburg Evening Independent.

Both newspapers also took big efforts to get into the other’s territory, with the Tribune publishing a St. Petersburg edition, and The St. Petersburg Times creating a robust Tampa edition.  Personally, I was involved at different times with redesigns of the St. Petersburg Times Tampa edition  as well as with the Evening Independent.

Lessons that last forever

As senior journalism students at USF, we had the best textbook daily comparing how the Tribune and the Times covered a specific local story, from a traffic accident to a political altercation. Those were great lessons. Professor Arthur Sanderson, who taught editing, would put the same story by both papers side by side on an overhead projector, and there was no clear winner all the time.  “The Trib did it in a more complete way,” Dr. Sanderson would say one day, but then “here we see why the St. Petersburg Times took more time with the story” would be the comment for another example.

We, the students, were the clear winners, of course, analyzing two ways of covering stories, and learning that there would be many more that would be possible while covering the same stories.

End of the two-newspaper cities

Today, few American cities can boast of having two newspapers, with two different views and ways of reporting the news.

Some, in fact, are lucky to have one newspaper still published for their communities, although I am happy to report that local weeklies do well and even thrive in many parts of the country.

Nothing like a visual, we often say.

For me, the sad visual of seeing the Tribune’s building demolished, to give way to a luxury residential tower, was a reminder that newspapers can’t rely on the glories of the past, and must take giant steps to adapt and to survive in the digital era.

I am confident that many are and many will.

I thank all those editors of The Tampa Tribune for the memories—and the lessons.


Speaking Engagements Coming Up

I will be speaking at these three events in the weeks ahead:

WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference 2017
March 14
United Arab Emirates

My topic will be about the importance of Sponsored Content, with emphasis on the recent launch of the Gulf NewsREACH by Gulf News project.

Mario García will talk about Visual Storytelling in the Digital Age. He will discuss the state of the media today, with emphasis on how we tell stories visually on mobile devices, the role of print and the importance of email newsletters and sponsored content to find new ways of promoting content and monetizing your operation.

For more information:

Mobile Media Culture in the Americas: The Digital Divide

March 23
Miami, Florida

I will be one of the speakers/panelists in this conference, a full day of interactive analysis of how information and communication technologies—specifically, mobile media—affect Latin American and Caribbean societies. How are mobile media bridging divides? Is that bridge strengthening democracy, social mobility, and economic equality and supporting growth and development? How has innovation changed the newsroom and news media landscape in Latin America and the Caribbean? What is being done to support enhanced journalistic coverage of our hemisphere?

For more information

Webinar for Crowdynews: open to all

March 29, 9 a.m. EST

The brief: What trends should every publisher embrace in 2017? According to Dr. Mario Garcia, top-of-mind should include digital storytelling, email newsletters, and sponsored content.

Mario Garcia, world renown storyteller, editorial designer, and digital strategy consultant, will share practical steps news organizations can embrace to offset the disruptive forces rocking the news industry. During this 60-minute webinar, Mario will introduce a concept and then open the floor for a discussion on implementation and best practices sharing stories of those who are realizing success.”

In this webinar, Dr. Garcia will cover how to: 

1) Go where your readers are: mobile. How do you create a more visually compelling and interactive experience for your mobile users while facing the challenge of a smaller screen size?

2) Be the source of their news – starting with their inbox every morning. How do you create a personalised, informative, and indispensable newsletter for your audience? 

3) Serve your readers with high quality, non-obstructive ads or face ad blockers. How do you organize your newsroom to offer sponsored content while not compromising editorial integrity?

To register, go here:

VOZ Media Conference

April 6
Vienna, Austria

I will be the keynote speaker for this event, my presentation titled The important role of print in the digital age. This presentation presents a state of the media today, with emphasis on how we tell stories visually on mobile devices, the role of print and the importance of email newsletters and sponsored content to find new ways of promoting content and monetizing your operation.

For more information:


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Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.