through the years
It all started in the backroom of a pharmacy in Dunedin, on a hand-cranked press. From those meager beginnings, our company’s mission was born: To report local news without fear or favor.
In its earliest days, ownership of the Company changed hands often. In 1912, Indiana publisher Paul Poynter bought the paper, charting a course for the Times that we still follow today. His son Nelson would become the single most important leader of the Times. Nelson became the paper’s general manager in 1938 and its editor in 1939. The younger Poynter began acquiring the newspaper’s stock from his father in the 1930s and was named president upon the elder Poynter’s death.
Years before his death in 1978, Nelson Poynter bequeathed his beloved newspaper, then named the St. Petersburg Times, to the Modern Media Institute, a nonprofit school for journalists that would later bear his name. Poynter’s gift ensured that the Times would remain locally and privately-owned and thereby unencumbered by the pressures chain newspapers face.
More than 139 years later, we’re still at it. Along the way, the Times has picked up a few brands and shed some, too. With the acquisition of one-time rival, the Tampa Tribune in 2016, the company’s flagship brand Tampa Bay Times became the largest newspaper in the southeastern United States.
A lot has changed at the Times over the years: Our name, our geographic footprint, our embrace of digital media. But our mission remains the same. We are committed to local journalism. As one of the country’s few independent sources for news, our allegiance is to truth.
Hand-cranked press that published the first issue of the Times, then called the West Hillsborough Times
The Times began as the West Hillsborough Times, a weekly paper published in Dunedin.
Nelson Poynter led the Times for more than 40 years and is responsible for some of the paper’s most notable and innovative accomplishments, including investing in a new printing plant and supporting the broad use of color, graphics and offset printing.
The St. Petersburg Times Building in 1954
The St. Petersburg Headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times