Bad news for Florida politics: The Tampa Tribune yesterday afternoon suddenly and apparently without warning laid off its well-respected political writer William March, who had been with Tampa Bay's smaller newspaper since 1984. He began covering state politics in 1994 when a young GOP activist in Miami named Jeb Bush had the gumption to think he could win the GOP nomination for governor against much more experienced candidates.
I can personally attest to March being an annoyingly tough and well-sourced competitor with vast knowledge and curiosity about Florida's complex politics and a reputation for fairness. He's also a good guy.
We did the Florida This Week TV show together on WEDU Friday, and March had to sprint back to the office after the taping to finish his weekender. It was nice of the powers that be at the Trib to let March, 65, finish up covering the election a week ago and then his wrap-up weekender before handing him his departure papers Monday. He said he had no warning.
"There were disagreements over our coverage of the governor's race. I don't know whether that had anything to do with it," he said. "I was told it was a straight lay-off."