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Robin Sussingham

Reporter/Host

Robin Sussingham is a reporter,pr oducer and host at WUSF Public Media.  A native of Lakeland, she hosts Florida Matters, the WUSF public affairs show, and frequently reports on events and issues in Polk County.

She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and has an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and online reporting. 

Robin majored in chemistry at Duke University, and went to New York University for a Master's Degree in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting. She's reported on everything from the Olympics to the oil spill, but will jump at a chance to talk about food or books.

Ways to Connect

There was a time when the only place to get a book was to buy it from a store or borrow it from a library. 

USF Libraries

These days it seems like we get most of our information from computers and mobile devices. Are libraries becoming obsolete?

This week on Florida Matters we’re talking to people who work in libraries about what might be in store for the future.


Daylina Miller/WikiMedia Commons

Polk County is a place of so many contradictions. It's the home of beautiful lakes, charming downtowns and historic landmarks. But this birthplace of several of Florida's governors, was also named by one recent study as having the country's second largest percentage of people struggling to avoid hunger.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Polk County is consistently ranked as having among the highest rates of suburban poverty in the country. And one recent study put it second in the nation for the number of people struggling to avoid hunger. The beautiful lakes and historic downtowns form a stark contrast to the sobering statistics.

Florida Matters hosted a town hall discussion on these issues Monday night in Lakeland, at Florida Southern College’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.

JDC Phosphate

Phosphate mining and production takes a heavy toll on the state's environment. But the industry also plays a key role in Florida's economy. This week on Florida Matters we’re exploring what phosphate contributes to the state, and at what price.


Stephanie Colombini/WUSF / WUSF

The phosphate industry contributes a great deal to Florida's economy, but at what cost?

This week on Florida Matters, we’re exploring how the phosphate industry impacts the state.

  

Self-driving cars – are they the road to the future or pie in the sky? This week on Florida Matters we’re revisiting a discussion about the promise and the perils of automated vehicles.


Robin Sussingham

This week on Florida Matters we're revisiting our discussion about autonomous vehicles. 

Scott Young

The disease called citrus greening has wreaked havoc on our state's most iconic industry. Florida is harvesting the smallest citrus crop in 52 years.

State and federal dollars have been pouring into frantic efforts to save groves. Some of the efforts seem to be paying off. But is it too late for the small family farms?


Florida Citrus Mutual

This week on Florida Matters, we're revisiting a discussion on the breathtaking decline in Florida's citrus industry. We're also learning about new farming and research methods that show promise for the industry's future.

 


The Everglades, Florida’s vast fresh water system that starts near Orlando and meanders South, is in trouble.

For years environmental advocates and sugar growers have clashed over how to restore the "River of Grass." And billions of dollars in projects to do just that aren’t going anywhere.

The azaleas are in bloom -- that means the legislative session in Tallahassee is just around the corner. What’s likely to happen, and how will it affect you?


It's that time of year again -- Florida's legislative session begins next Tuesday, March 7.

This week on Florida Matters we're exploring some proposals lawmakers are considering in the upcoming session, and talking about the politics behind it all. 


Marsha Halper

You'll often hear the news of young people tragically dying from gun violence. But what about those who live?

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

There is a violin shop in Tel Aviv, whose owner has spent the past two decades repairing violins that belonged to Jewish musicians during the holocaust.

These "Violins of Hope," he says, give a voice to the voiceless.

Self-driving cars – are they the road to the future or pie in the sky? This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the promise and the perils of automated vehicles.

Robin Sussingham/WUSF News

Florida has become a hotbed for driverless car technology. The self-driving vehicle is moving from the Jetsons to a road near you, and things are moving fast.

At Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, students are just starting a brand new class that teaches the basics of building an autonomous vehicle.

Scott Young

The disease called citrus greening has wreaked havoc on our state's most iconic industry. Florida is harvesting the smallest citrus crop in 52 years. 

State and federal dollars have been pouring into frantic efforts to save groves. Some of the efforts seem to be paying off. But is it too late for the small family farms?

Michael McArthur

The statistics are familiar; most startups don't make it. But job growth and innovation are the life blood of a thriving community. On Florida Matters, we discuss how to grow -- and keep -- successful entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay.

 

The Merriam-Webster definition of an entrepreneur is "a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money." They also must be willing to work hard and crazy hours, and give up the security of working for someone else. But the rewards can be substantial.

Tonight’s show includes the following guests:

 

As 2016 winds down, we’re taking another listen to some of the best news stories we discussed on Florida Matters throughout the year.

Elisa Albo

On Florida Matters "Food as Muse," we're talking to people who communicate their passion about food in particularly interesting ways.

In this preview of the show, WUSF's Robin Sussingham talks to Elisa Albo, a poet and English professor at Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale. 

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, we bring you highlights of the conversation.

The panel, which was organized by Florida Southern College Professor Catherine Eskin, includes:

Daylina Miller / WUSF

We explore how the 2016 presidential election was affected by social media, fake news and fact checking, and discuss the new face of journalism and its effect on our political system.

Daylina Miller / WUSF

On Florida Matters, we explore how the 2016 presidential election was affected by social media, fake news and fact checking.

In this preview of  the show, WUSF's Carson Cooper talks to Peter Schorsch, the publisher of SaintPetersblog.com and Sunburn; Josh Gillin of Politifact Florida; and USF Communications Professor Kelli Burns.

CHIP SOMODEVILLA / Getty Images

Florida helped propel Donald Trump to his historic presidential win. 

The I-4 corridor is considered vital to the presidential election -- the swing region in the swing state. Teaming up with NPR member station WMFE in Orlando, we're taking a trip down I-4, with a look at each county and its politics.

Oh, Florida! On the one hand, a white sands, warm winter paradise. On the other hand -- alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes...you get the idea! Author Craig Pittman explores the irony of the Sunshine State in his new book: "Oh, Florida!: How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country."

Associated Press

The upcoming elections are widely viewed as pivotal for the direction of this state, and the country. People are concerned about issues like gun control,  education, or paying for their health care.

On today's show, we're shedding some light on the way that some of these concerns are playing out in Florida.
 

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Right in the middle of the I-4 corridor sits Polk County -- rural and conservative and largely Republican. But changing demographics could mean a close election there for President.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump got an enthusiastic reception when he campaigned in Lakeland recently, and he probably noticed that Polk County -- to coin a phrase --  is really "huge". It's about the size of Delaware, and for the past 20 years, the Republican party has dominated the political scene there.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Public art in the Tampa Bay area is not limited to Sarasota, Tampa or St. Petersburg. Heading east to Lakeland, there's an entire organization dedicated to showcasing local artists and bringing art to nontraditional spaces.  Platform Art,  for the last 12 years, has sponsored everything from public monuments to community gardens.

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