New media for veteran columnist: Gary Shelton leaves Tampa Bay Times; launches subscription website

Gary Shelton opened his final Tampa Bay Times column with a telling line:

“I always thought the ink would last a lifetime.”

I think we all felt that way. Then the industry blew up.

Shelton now is moving on to a new frontier after spending nearly 25 years at the Tampa Bay Times.

He writes in his final column:

This is my final column for the Tampa Bay Times, a newspaper where I have worked for the last 24 years and 10 months. I’ll be honest. There have been easier departures. A man doesn’t spend all of these words and not stumble upon the final one: Goodbye.

And so I move to a different field. In the coming weeks, I will launch a subscription-based web site, I hope you will join me. We’ll look at sports in the Tampa Bay market, sports that vex us and frustrate us, and every now and then, define us.

And here’s the link to his new site. It includes his selling points

 No one covers Tampa Bay like Gary Shelton.
 No one has seen as many moments, as many athletes, as many coaches as he has over the past quarter of a century.
 No one has won more awards, including two national Associated Press Sports Editors Best Columnist awards and eight top 10 finishes.
 No one has seen more big events, including 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics and 11 Final Fours.
 No one has made you angrier, or laugh louder, or think harder about what he has written.
Now, he begins a blog designed to keep him in touch with the readers who have grown up on his words. 

And here are his rates:

 Sit in the bleachers (99 cents an article).
 Buy a season ticket ($4 a month).
 Splurge on a club seat ($24 a year).
 Or go all in with a skybox ($54 for three years, which is only $1.50 a month).

Shelton faces a tough challenge. He likely will find out it is tough to get people to pay for anything on the Internet when there’s so much content out there for free.

Here’s hoping Shelton can do it. I will have more on his new venture soon.

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