Daniel Ruth discusses decline of newspaper business listen02/04/09 SeÃ¡n Kinane
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Long-time Tampa Tribune columnist Daniel Ruth was laid off by the financially troubled newspaper last November.
Ruth spoke this afternoon at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg.
Within a month, of being laid off by the Trib, Ruth was hired by the St. Petersburg Times to write a column every Friday. But that has not completely taken away the sting from when Ruth learned early on the morning of Nov. 10 that he was no longer employed.
â€œMy mind was rolling the tape backwards.â€
Looking back, Ruth recalled how great it had been to work as a columnist. But he also noted the decline of the newspaper business, speculating that there is a â€œ50-50â€ chance that one year from now the Tribune will not be printed every day.
â€œFor the past two years, they have been incredibly stressful, as wave after wave of layoffs began to sweep through the newsroom.â€
From an early age, Ruth says he knew he wanted to write for newspapers.
â€œ[My father] would eventually throw the [newspaper] on the ground and [say] â€˜god damn communist!â€™ And I would sit there and watch that and I would think to myself, â€˜Iâ€™d think Iâ€™d like to do that.â€™â€
Ruth says the colorful characters and inept politicians of Hillsborough County and the rest of Florida are a constant source of material for his columns.
Replying to a question about Floridaâ€™s continuous revenue problems, which are even worse this year, Ruth brought up one solution with a slim chance of success.
â€œMy personal opinion about this is we need a state income tax.â€
Upcoming Suncoast Tiger Bay Club programs include Steve Seibert, executive director of Florida's Century Commission, on Feb. 20, and at least four other programs before May.