Thinking Of A Good Man

May 4th, 2016
Joe Henderson.

Joe Henderson.

This will be the last postmortem Joe will have for the now-defunct Tampa Tribune.

Yes, yesterday it was announced the Tampa Bay Times bought and immediately shuttered The Tampa Tribune, tossing many a good person out on the street in the process. One of those good people is Joe Henderson.

Yes, Joe worked with many, many, many good people at the Tribune from regional editors like Bayard Steele (who first linked Joe to an opening) to bureau chiefs like Rick Barry to dozens of others including editors, reporters and copy editors who helped Joe a lot and who never go their names in the paper. like Greg Gordon, Barb Jiannetti, Bob D’Angelo, Tom Hardesty, Joel Poiley and so many others. Joe hates to name names as someone will be forgotten.

But perhaps the man who most influenced and helped Joe was Henderson. For whatever reason, the no-nonsense, suffer-no-fools Henderson took a liking to Joe. Perhaps because Henderson never gave Joe an assignment Joe didn’t like.

Joe must have done an OK job because Henderson kept piling on the assignments, and upping the responsibilities, too. Henderson was a sports staffer then, later a sports columnist, later a columnist. Now, Joe guesses, Henderson is a retired columnist. Involuntarily.

It’s the sad state of newspapers in the 21st century, no matter the publication. Reporters, editors, et al, know they walk a tightrope with ever decreasing revenues. What happened yesterday was likely to happen sooner or later. Still doesn’t make it any less sad.

There are folks along Joe’s professional life that made monster impressions on him while learning the ropes. Bernie Miklasz, then an NFL beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, sort of took Joe under his wing in Joe’s first NFL training camp coverage. Remember it like yesterday. Bob Martin, a sports editor long ago passed, hired Joe to cover the Kansas City Royals. One virtue Joe learned from Martin, a man very partial to a bottle, was that nothing good and everything bad can happen if you tip a bottle before, during or sometimes after an assignment. A rule Joe adheres to religiously to this day. It’s about the only time you won’t get Joe to drink a beer.

(Back in those days, the Royals actually served cocktails in the press box. Yes, really!)

But it was Henderson who may have had the greatest influence. He was always helpful on how to write a story, how to cover a beat, how to dig up news.

When yesterday Joe learned of the demise of the Tribune, of course Joe thought of Roy Cummings and the Custodian of Canton, eye-RAH! Kaufman, and Martin Fennelly, the Tribune’s Bucs team, and so many others. But none more so than Henderson.

Joe owes that man an awful lot and will never be able to repay him. Words are vapid in trying to describe what Henderson meant for Joe’s career.

Joe felt bad – still does – for a lot of folks yesterday. Joe feels particularly awful for Henderson who deserved a better fate.

Joe is confident in saying if not for Henderson, it is very likely this website never launches.

So blame Henderson!

13 Responses to “Thinking Of A Good Man”

  1. old buc fan Says:

    I’ll certainly miss Joe and Ira like I did Tom Mc. They brought it when they reported and always tried to stay positive to the local teams even when it was daunting task. Hope they find happiness in their future.

  2. MadMax Says:

    Very unfortunate. Hopefully everyone finds solid ground working again….might even have to change careers, you do what you have to. I know all too well about businesses closing or laying off. Ive been through 6 shutdowns/relocations/layoffs with major manufacturers. Thats when I got my CDL and why I’ll always have my CDL as my back up. If I ever need to go back into trucking, I’ll do it. Hate you’re seeing friends go through this Joes, I know the pain.

  3. FortMyersDave Says:

    I have always preferred the Tampa Trib sports page over the SPiTimes since i started reading the local press back in the ’70s with so many of Tom McEwan’s great articles about the Bucs, UT Spartan Football, The Gators and of course his “Hey Tom’ commentaries… Nothing against the late Hubie Mizell and the Times but i just felt the Trib put out a classier product! Back in the ’70s and ’80s you could actually call the trib on any NFL Sunday and they’d be able to give you scores over the phone if you missed the updates on TV…. Definately a sad day in Florida journalism, Mr McEwan probably turned in his grave when this happened. Just another sign of how our world is changing as is the Tampa Bay area….. A lot of people saw this coming when the Tribs’ building on Parker Street was sold….

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Perhaps if Joe expands……Joe could add yet another Joe to the team!!!

  5. D-Rome Says:

    The Tampa Bay Times will meet a similar fate soon enough. I hate to see the Tribune go out of business. Ira Kaufman was my favorite Bucs writer locally. That being said, when I want to read Bucs news I ALWAYS go to first which is exactly why print media is dying.

  6. William Walls Says:

    I will definitely miss the Trib. After the Clearwater Sun went down, the Trib became my favorite local paper, and remained so.

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Tom McEwen is rolling in his grave…after a breakfast of Cuban Coffee with a lump of S. FL sugar, two poached eggs, three strips of crispy bacon, slices of Ruskin tomatoes, whole wheat toast and a glass of fresh squeezed Navel Orange juice…

  8. duthsty rhothdes Says:

    They will survive and maybe have a larger audience once they kick start their a website dedicated to only Tampa/Florida sports as others in the industry have had to do. Peter King survived sports illustrated and has a national site that is surviving

  9. Espo Says:

    It always seemed as far as editorials go the Tribune was afraid to give an opinion. They’d simply provide both (or more) cases. It’s sad for these guys to lose their jobs and terrible what’s happening to print in general but I can honestly say I won’t miss the Tribune at all. Times is far superior. Let’s see if they can keep it running.

  10. Lou. Says:


    My only comments on Mother Trib.

    The demise of that newspaper is a case study in hubris and stupidity. People — especially in Tampa — WANTED it to be their paper. The writers, before and after Tom McEwen to Steve Otto and many others, were offbeat and oddball and who we wanted to read.

    But management was well able to swamp all this goodwill. They whined, constantly, about the Poynter Institute and its riches. (Poynter might as well have been the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderburgers and the Illuminati all rolled into one). It was tiresome the first time I read those complaints and insufferable thereafter. Management complained about the cost of newsprint in its own pages. And the Trib hit on a genius strategy — they RAISED the price of their paper above the retail for the Times.

    Not to mention reducing the pages for its midweek editions.

    In the end, I gave up on the Trib. I wish it was better, but the suits never changed their ways. I don’t miss what the Trib became. I wish the best for the staff and fond memories for past readers.

    For the suits in management, I wish them a good horse whipping, if only with the cords of their golden parachutes.

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    It’s just a matter of time before all print media is history. The Trib is just one of the fallen dominos…

  12. Buccfan37 Says:

    These newspapers all suck. If I want the police blotter the local evening news is chock full of that along with their thinly disguised infomercials selling something. The St. Pete Times was a quarter 12 years ago, now a dollar except Sunday. A big part of the irrelevance for readership is a lack of trust in the overall establishment. The newspapers content have to be approved from on high. It is not a free press.

  13. uckinator Says:

    I know the economic forces caused this. Just like you don’t see horse buggy manufacturers and plasterers anymore. Life changes and moves on, if you like it or not. I’m not sad to see the rampid political correctness go away though. Through their editorials, guys should be able to use girls bathrooms and girls the boys room. Police can’t bust a drug crazed moron without the worry of getting ostrasized in the paper. (The result, less arrests and more crime). Patriotism is “mean spirited”. I could go on. Front page was not for news anymore, just another way to push an agenda. If it wasn’t for the local news in the local section and the crossword puzzle, I’d drop them too !