Bobbie O'Brien

Reporter

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.

Bobbie also produces the blog, Off the Base, and covers military affairs, veterans’ issues and military families. She was named a Rosalyn Carter Fellow in 2010-2011. She supervises WUSF’s news interns and frequently contributes to NPR programs.

Prior to joining WUSF, she worked at WTVT- TV as a researcher/segment producer, at the Tampa Tribune and at WFLA-TV. She attended Kent State University and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida in 1980.

Her work has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Inc., American Women in Radio & Television, the Florida Associated Press and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Ways to Connect

For a brief time last week, it appeared Hillsborough Correctional Institution (HCI), the women’s faith-and-character based prison set for closure, would receive a reprieve. But reports surfaced over the weekend, HCI is back on the chopping block.

Inmates, staff and volunteers at HCI successfully kept the Department of Corrections from closing down the 35-year-old facility last year. And, it appeared they would do it again this budget year when both the House and Senate set aside $2 million for needed repairs.

Recent news out of Afghanistan has focused mainly on protests and killings linked to the incident when U.S. forces burned some Korans allegedly used to pass messages among prisoners. But there is different news from outlying provinces far removed from Kabul.

For our ongoing series, Off the Base, WUSF’s Bobbie O’Brien talked with former MacDill Air Force 1st Lt. Mark Graff who has spent the last 9 months as a member of a Provincial Reconstruction Team or PRT in the western province of Farah.

BOBBIE O’BRIEN: This was the first deployment of your military career, can you sum up what the experience has been like as a PRT member serving with civilians and members of the Army and Navy?

1st LT. MARK GRAFF: Our goal was to work with the Afghan government, the provincial government, on improving the economy, development and security for Farah Province.

The Tampa Bay Lightning won Tuesday night and remains in the playoff hunt – despite a team roster depleted by recent player trades, injuries and most recently the flu.

But, the team’s owner is in good health. We interviewed Jeff Vinik Wednesday for an upcoming episode of Florida Matters.

This Saturday marks the second anniversary of Vinik’s purchase of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Many sports analysts are astounded that in such a short time he’s resurrected the bay area’s National Hockey League franchise.

We've known for a while that the Florida House was willing to spend money to save Hillsborough Correctional Institution (HCI). And now, the Senate has put up money for HCI as well.

Still unanswered is whether Gov. Rick Scott will keep the popular women's prison open.

St. Petersburg native Brad Snyder has earned an invitation to swim with the U.S. Paralympic Team in the London 2012 Games.

Snyder, a 2006 U.S. Naval Academy graduate and swim team captain, competed in his first swim meet this past weekend since being blinded by an explosive six months ago in Afghanistan. Swimming the 50 free at the Bobby Flowers Swim Meet in Colorado Springs, Snyder finished just 1.8 seconds off the paralympic blind division world record.

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