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Lottie Watts

Reporter/Producer

Lottie Watts is our Florida Matters producer, and she also covers health and health policy for Health News Florida.

She earned a master’s degree in journalism and media studies from University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where she was the editor and graduate assistant at the Neighborhood News Bureau. She earned a bachelor of science in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University, where she interned at WSTM-TV and WSYR-TV. Her work has been recognized by the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists, Florida Associated Press Broadcasters, Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine State Awards, SPJ's Green Eyeshade Awards and RTDNA's Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

Contact Lottie by email or phone: 813-974-8705. 

Ways to Connect

Daylina Miller / WUSF

WUSF News has embarked on a new storytelling mission called "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," where our journalists will be visiting some of the region’s lesser-known spots to record interviews with members of those communities.

Daylina Miller/WUSF / WUSF

Telling Tampa Bay Stories is a new project from WUSF News, where our journalists will be visiting some of the region’s lesser-known spots -- to record stories from members of those communities.

We featured some of those stories this week on Florida Matters.

Real prices for health care are complicated and oftentimes secret. Health News Florida, WUSF and WLRN have launched an online guide to bring clarity to health care costs. PriceCheck Florida is a database of prices of common health care procedures and supplies.

You can search the database, and you can contribute information about the prices you paid.  

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 at 7:30 a.m.), we sit down with project founder Jeanne Pinder and Health News Florida reporter Sammy Mack to talk about how the database works and why it’s needed. We also feature a discussion on the impact of health care costs on employer-based insurance.

Ed Miyagishima / Port Tampa Bay

NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” Coordinated Conversation project is looking at the topic of trade on the campaign trail, and in communities around the country.

As part of that project, this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 24 at 7:30 a.m.), we feature a panel discussion on trade policy with Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson, Florida Small Business Development Center Regional Director Eileen Rodriguez and Michael Schiffhauer, the vice president of international trade and development for Enterprise Florida.


AP

We're gathering a panel for an upcoming Florida Matters to discuss how trade affects jobs in various sectors across Florida. This is part of NPR's A Nation Engaged: Coordinated Conversation project.

We want to know how trade deals have affected you and your family. Will trade policy influence your vote in the presidential election? We want to hear your thoughts.

Florida Denies Permit For Lakeland Woman To Keep Pet Gator

Apr 4, 2016

The Lakeland woman who gained national attention for her pet alligator may be losing her fight to keep him.

Pinellas County Sheriff

Authorities say three teenage girls have been found dead inside a car they stole after driving into a pond while fleeing sheriff's deputies in Florida.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the driver apparently missed a sharp turn near the Royal Palm Cemetery in St. Petersburg and went into the water early Thursday morning.

USF Department of Anthropology

The Tampa Bay History Center recently hosted a panel discussion on the now-closed Dozier School for Boys. The reform school in the Florida Panhandle has been known for decades for abuse, torture, and even murder.

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 a.m.), we are bringing you highlights of the discussion moderated by Tampa attorney and History Center Trustee Bob Bolt.

AP

A Tampa socialite’s federal lawsuit over an investigation that led to the resignation of former CIA director David Petraeus is collapsing after her lawyers asked a judge Friday to let them withdraw from the case.

Have  golf cart, will travel. At least to The Villages.

The retirement community in central Florida famous for its souped-up golf carts once again was the nation's fastest growing metro area, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Florida legislative session has ended, and this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 27 at 7:30 a.m.), we're taking a look at what bills passed, what bills died and what it means to Floridians.  

Courtesy of Catherine Eskin

WUSF’s Robin Sussingham recently hosted “Our Jewish Communion: Religious Identity and Growing Up Jewish in Polk County” at Florida Southern College in Lakeland to discuss what it was like to come of age in a predominantly Christian region. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 at 7:30 a.m.), we bring you highlights of the conversation.

Across the country and in Florida, most say their health care is a good value, according to a national poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

"But then again, when you look more in depth, what you see is a third of Floridians said that their health care became less affordable over the last two years,” said Harvard professor and study co-director Robert Blendon.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio made several campaigns stops in Florida on Saturday, with a big focus on the Tampa Bay region.

Rubio appeared in Hudson, Tampa, Lakeland and Largo, where about 250 people turned out on Saturday morning for the rally in the parking lot of Beckwith Electric.

Floridians gave high marks to their hospital stays, but low marks to care in emergency rooms, according to a national poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

"The highest share of excellence, the top of the chart, were for people who were hospitalized,” said Harvard professor and study co-director Robert Blendon. 

A new poll shows that Floridians are divided about how their health care has changed in the two years since much of the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect.

By contrast, nationwide, a majority said their personal health care has pretty much stayed the same in the past two years, according to the national poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Voters in Florida are casting early ballots and candidates are holding campaign events across the state ahead of the primary on Tuesday. 

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 13 at 7:30 a.m.), we're taking a look at what's at stake for Florida's voters -- and the candidates.

USF Health Communications

Rhea Chiles, the widow of former governor Lawton Chiles, died last November in her home on Anna Maria Island,  at the age of 84. She dedicated her life to improving the lives of children in Florida.

The University of South Florida’s College of Public Health recently held a symposium to honor the legacy of Rhea Chiles' work. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 at 7:30 a.m.) we bring you highlights of the discussion.

AP

On an upcoming Florida Matters, we're discussing the Florida primary. 

Who has your vote and why? Share your thoughts with us, and we may use your comments on the air. 

Associated Press

The members of the Manatee Tiger Bay Club recently debated the issues of guns.  This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 a.m.), we feature highlights of the conversation, which was moderated by  Manatee Tiger Bay Club President Ben Bakker.

There are 26 travel-related Zika cases in Florida, according to the latest information from the Florida Department of Health.

Central Florida is now up to three Zika cases. The virus has shown up in Brevard, Osceola and Orange counties. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Brevard County’s first Zika case. The virus was caught while traveling to Haiti.

Judithanne McLauchlan

College students in the Road To The White House course at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg have just returned from working on the New Hampshire primary. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 a.m.), they join us to talk about what it's like to be up close to the candidates and their campaigns.

Florida Senate

The Florida Senate approved a nearly $81 billion budget this afternoon, and now, the Florida Legislature has less than a month left in its regular session to reach a deal over a new state budget.

The Florida House has passed a nearly $80 billion budget after a lengthy partisan debate.

The House on Thursday voted 85-29 for the spending bill that includes money for schools, health care and environmental programs. The Senate is expected to pass a rival budget later in the day. 

Lottie Watts / WUSF

What are the pros and cons of the Tampa Bay Express project, which includes adding express toll lanes on interstates around the Tampa Bay area?

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 a.m.), we bring you both sides of the debate with Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) Executive Director Ray Chiaramonte, and Linda Saul-Sena with the group Stop TBX

Central Florida has gotten its first confirmed case of the travel-related Zika virus. Osceola County is one of seven Florida counties with CDC-confirmed cases. 

Florida Ends Enrollment With 1.7M Sign Ups

Feb 8, 2016

About 12.7 million Americans enrolled in private health insurance through the federal and state marketplaces for 2016, the Obama administration said Thursday.

Florida is leading the nation once again in enrollment, with 1,742,819 new and returning customers on HealthCare.gov.

Gov. Rick Scott added a fifth Florida county to a public health emergency declaration over the Zika virus on Thursday, and asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for training and other assistance.

Broward joins Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa counties as where cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been found. All of the cases are travel related.

FDOT

On an upcoming Florida Matters, we're looking at the Tampa Bay Express transportation plan, which includes adding toll lanes to area interstates.

What do you think of the idea? Share your questions and comments with us, and we may use them on the air. 

AP

It has been 30 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded off the coast of Cape Canaveral. All seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, were killed.

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 7:30 a.m.), we'll remember the disaster, and take a look at some of the lessons learned from Challenger.

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