Steve Newborn

Interim News Director

Steve Newborn is WUSF's interim news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues, politics and just about everything else in the Tampa Bay area.

He’s been with WUSF since 2001, and has covered events such as President George W. Bush’s speech in Sarasota as the Sept. 11 attacks unfolded; the ongoing drama over whether the feeding tube should be removed from Terri Schiavo; the arrest and terrorism trial of USF professor Sami Al-Arian; and how the BP Deepwater Horizon spill affected Florida.

Before joining WUSF, he covered environmental and Polk County news for the Tampa Tribune and worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center during the early days of the space shuttle. Steve is a graduate of the journalism department at the University of South Florida.


6:34 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Q&A With Public Transportation Advocate Arthur Guzzetti on Greenlight Pinellas

Arthur Guzzetti

Both sides on November's mass transit referendum to replace property taxes with a sales tax hike in Pinellas County are gearing up their campaigns for an against Greenlight Pinellas. We recently talked to Randal O'Toole of the libertarian Cato Institute, who claimed light rail doesn't work.

Read more
6:15 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Q&A With Cato Institute's Randal O'Toole on No Tax for Tracks

Randal O'Toole

Both sides on November's referendum to replace property taxes with a sales tax hike in Pinellas County are gearing up their campaigns. The opposition has brought in a big-name consultant, who will take part in a debate Tuesday night in St. Petersburg. WUSF's Steve Newborn spoke to Randal O'Toole about why he rails against light rail.

Read more
Health News Florida
4:33 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Fight Against Hunger Gets a High-Tech Edge

Adam Putnam talks with students helping bag sweet potatoes at the hunger relief forum
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The fight against hunger is getting a high-tech edge.  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was in Bradenton today to announce a new program to make it easier to match food relief programs with hungry people.

Putnam helped local Future Farmers of America students unpack donated sweet potatoes during a hunger relief forum in Bradenton, sponsored by The Mosaic Co.

"So which school are you all from? Palmetto? Good to have you here."

Read more
5:12 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Tampa Bay Times Forum is Kaput, Welcome Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Times Forum - not for long
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

First, it was the Ice Palace - a homage to its main tenant, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team.

Then, the then-St. Petersburg Times shelled out $30 million in 2002 for a 12-year deal to rename the palace the St. Pete Times Forum. That name shifted to the Tampa Bay Times Forum when the newspaper rebranded itself.

Now, it's the Amalie Arena.

In 2011, after Lightning owner Jeff Vinik purchased the Lightning, the naming rights deal was extended to 2018. Vinik announced today the Times is becoming the "exclusive print sponsor" of the 19,204-seat arena.

Read more
World Affairs
4:21 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Video Purports to Show Beheading of Florida Journalist

In a first video posted on YouTube titled “A Message to America,” a man identified as American journalist Steven Sotloff is held by an Islamic militant who had just executed American James Foley
Credit AP Photo

An Internet video posted online Tuesday purported to show the beheading by the Islamic State group of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, who went missing in Syria last year.

The extremist group, which has claimed wide swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and declared itself a caliphate, said Sotloff’s killing was retribution for continued U.S. airstrikes targeting its fighters in Iraq. It brazenly killed American journalist James Foley last month in the same manner and again threatened to kill another hostage, this one they identified as a British citizen.

Read more
3:54 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Falcon's Fury Opens - Finally - at Busch Gardens Tampa

Tall, isn't it?
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Busch Gardens' Falcon's Fury is finally open. After testing that took months, the tallest free-standing drop tower in North America is now giving people the chance to fall face-down towards the ground at 60 miles per hour.

Falcon's Fury is the main attraction of Pantopia - the new area of the theme park that opened in April.

Read more
4:19 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Sen. Bill Nelson: We Need to Attack ISIS Now; Help Ukraine

ISIS in Iraq

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is in Tampa today for the U.S. Special Operation’s change of command ceremony.

(Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel assumed command of U.S. Special Operations Command from Navy Adm. William H. McRaven at a ceremony officiated by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in the Tampa Convention Center.  Votel is the tenth commander of SOCOM and is now responsible for ensuring the readiness of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations Forces. )

Read more
8:55 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Crist, Scott Trounce Opposition in Primaries

And the winner is...

As expected, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott have trounced their opposition in today's primaries.

On the Democratic side, Crist captured 74 percent of the vote to Nan Rich's 26 percent.

And Governor Rick Scott beat two relatively unknown challengers, with 88 percent. Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder received 11 percent.

In the Democratic contest for state Attorney General, George Sheldon has beat Perry Thurston, 68 to 32 percent.

It was a long shot especially for Rich, who barely mentioned Charlie Crist in her concession speech.

Read more
11:01 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Taking a Tour of the New Florida Polytechnic University

Steve Newborn WUSF News

Florida's 12th university opens to the public Saturday with the grand opening of Florida Polytechnic U. More than 550 students are expected for the first day of class on August 25th. The Lakeland campus is the state's first public university devoted to STEM - science, technology and mathematics.

Read more
7:05 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Mass Transit Headed Back to Hillsborough Voters in 2016?

Coming soon to a stop near you?

Hillsborough County might be on its way to having another major referendum on public transportation - in 2016.

A board made up of county commissioners and the county's three mayors unanimously agreed to move forward on a plan that would increase the size of the county's bus system, repave roads - and create the county's first light rail line.

A similar referendum was defeated at the polls in 2010, during the height of the recession.

Hillsborough County Adminstrator Mike Merrill said officials have a chance this time to change that outcome.

Read more
9:31 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

Arcadia Moves On 10 Years After Hurricane Charley

Arcadia's water tower lays crumbled after the storm alongside State Road 70

Ten years ago Wednesday, (Aug. 13),  Hurricane Charley swirled its way inland through the quaint DeSoto County town of Arcadia. Sustained winds of a hundred miles an hour ripped down walls and roofs from its historic main street - dealing a major blow to its antiques district. WUSF's Steve Newborn was there in the aftermath, and returned a decade later to see how the town has changed.

Ten years ago, the grind of buzz saws was the sound heard most often in Arcadia

Read more
10:11 am
Thu July 17, 2014

A Chat with the Authors of "Home to Havana"

Francisco Serrano, 17, an aspiring ballet dancer from Sarasota, performs at Havana's National Theater during an international ballet competition in Cuba, the land of his parents' birth. Though he has been dancing only four years, Serrano recently won a fu
Elaine Litherland Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A reporter and photographer from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune took their first trip to Cuba recently. Dance critic and arts writer Carrie Seidman and photographer-videographer Elaine Litherland covered a Sarasota ballet troupe taking part in an international dance competition.

They documented the life of Ariel Serrano, who defected to the U.S. in 1993 and found his way to Sarasota. His 17-year-old son, Francisco, the only American ever to dance in the April event, followed in his dad's footsteps, and danced his way to the gold medal.

Read more
12:57 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Hillsborough Commissioners Move to Protect Gay Rights

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner

Hillsborough County Commissioners today voted to legislate protection of gay, bisexual and transgender people. If it is enacted in an upcoming session, the ordinance would be an about-face of a 1995 vote that excluded those civil rights protections.

Read more
3:25 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Duke Energy Holds Open House on New Crystal River Power Plant

An artist's drawing of a power plant that Duke Energy proposes to build in Citrus County. The giant plant would run on natural gas. (Duke Energy / July 8, 2014)

Duke Energy Florida will host an open house on its proposed combined-cycle natural gas plant in Citrus County Thursday.

It will be held between 3 and 7 p.m. in the Magnolia room at the Plantation on Crystal River, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail, Crystal River.

On May 13, Duke Energy Florida announced plans to construct a new combined-cycle natural gas plant in Citrus County to supply 1,640 megawatts of generation to help serve Florida's approximately 1.7 million customers in 2018.

Read more
2:46 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

USF Study: Skin Lesions on Fish Decline Years After BP Oil Spill

Prevalence of skin lesions at sampling sites in 2011: White dots indicate 0 percent skin lesions, red circles are proportional in size to the percent frequency of lesions. DWH is the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and gray shading is the surface extent of oil as seen from aircraft and satellites.
Credit Transactions of the American Fisheries

A new study by marine biologists based at the University of South Florida shows that an outbreak of skin lesions and oil residue signatures discovered in fish a year after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may be related to the catastrophe.

Read more