On Monday, Emily Nipps, a 10-year-plus veteran at the paper, became the latest staffer to announce she is leaving the industry to go into public relations — in her case, working for Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.
In recent months other longtime Times journalists have also left the paper to go into the world of flackery — such as Janet Zink leaving to work at Tampa International Airport and Tom Scherberger going to USF-St. Pete.
Nipps began her tenure in sports at the Times before moving to news in 2005. Previously, she wrote for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Tampa Tribune.
Nipps tells CL that until the past month or so, she had her sights on moving up the Times chain, perhaps working in politics before becoming an editor, and perhaps managing editor one day. "I truly thought that would happen, and I'm certain I could have made it happen."
But she says finances became more of a concern for her lately, and so in the last month she began to look outside the Times for the first time since she's worked there. She says she applied only at Bayfront, where after just a few days of interviewing, she was offered the job as spokesperson, which she accepted last Friday.
The 34-year-old Nipps said it was such a huge decision to take the job that she talked about it with her bosses at 490 First Avenue South. They made a counter-offer, and for a brief time she thought she might remain at the paper. After some soul-searching, she came to the conclusion that she could not get as excited about staying as she was about leaving.
"Mostly, I was interested in doing something new. But I did see some stability and some potential for professional growth and income growth at Bayfront that was also very appealing to me."
In addition to reporters departing for communication jobs, several other Times reporters have left for other jobs in recent months — some in journalism, such as investigative writer Sydney Freedberg and political reporter Michael Bender to Bloomberg. Also, travel reporter Steve Huettel exited of his own accord recently.
As with anybody working in newspapers in 2012, Emily Nipps says that she and her colleagues at the paper are very aware of the precariousness of the industry. But she says she's confident that the Times will be one of the papers that makes it.
"It is a wonderful company that is struggling like everyone else, and I truly believe if any paper will figure out how to succeed in the end, it'll be this one."