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.


12:48 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Governor's Debate Live Chat Tonight

The 2014 gubernatorial election is being watched by politics buffs across the nation. It's a competitive race, and Florida voters will have plenty to decide on.

In preparation for our coverage of the first English-language debate, public radio stations across the state have worked together to bring you stories about some of Florida's big issues.

Click on the icons to see what Floridians across the state are voting on.


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5:58 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Jill Biden, Annette Taddeo Campaign on Education at USF

Jill Biden presses the flesh with USF students
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

As the race for governor heats up, the Democrats are calling on some big names to help out Charlie Crist. Vice President Joe Biden is in South Florida this afternoon, and his wife Jill appeared today at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She listened to a group of students talking about making college affordable.

Biden says the average college student is weighed down with about $30,000 of debt when they graduate.

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10:57 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Could Ferguson Happen in the Tampa Bay Area?

The panel at USF, from left to right: NPR television critic Eric Deggans, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper, James Cole, president of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Black Advisory Council, and attorney Alec Hall
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri that were sparked by the police shooting of a black man have led many communities to reassess how their police departments interact with the community. A forum held Thursday night at the University of South Florida Tampa campus talked about just that.

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Law & Order
3:08 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Dozier School Victim's Casket Opened; No Body Found

USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle inspects the casket
Katy Hennig/University of South Florida

Both the University of South Florida and the Tampa Bay Times are reporting that USF researchers sent to exhume the body of a boy who was killed at the infamous Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and buried in a Pennsylvania cemetery found nothing when they opened the casket.

Nothing, except for a few pieces of wood.

Here's what the Times wrote:

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4:31 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

John Morgan Brings Amendment 2 Bus Tour to USF Tampa

John Morgan poses for a selfie with a supporter at USF's Marshall Student Center
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Orlando attorney John Morgan -- famous for his TV commercials and for his backing of the medical marijuana amendment in Florida -- stopped by the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida today.

It's part of a campus bus tour he's on this week to get out the youth vote for Amendment 2.

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5:17 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

USF Prof. MacManus - Negative Political Ads May Decrease Turnout at the Polls

Dr. Susan MacManus

The avalanche of negative ads that are permeating both sides of the race for governor is bound to turn off a lot of voters from going to the polls in November. That's the word from USF political science professor Susan MacManus, who says this is having a corrosive effect on democracy. She tells WUSF's Steve Newborn that all this negativity may persuade undecided voters to sit this one out.

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1:55 am
Wed September 24, 2014

PolitiFact Florida: Dissecting Ads by Pam Bondi, Charlie Crist

It's election season, and the ads are coming fast and furious on the airwaves. So we talk with PolitiFact Florida's Josh Gillen to cut to the chase with ads by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi - and Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist.

First, Bondi's new TV ad is called "Streets," and shows a serious-looking Bondi touting her accomplishments during her first term in office. One of those is a claim that she has closed down all of the state's so-called "pill mills." Those are the rampant cases of prescription drug abuse by Florida doctors.

"With our amazing law enforcement, we closed down the pill mills. Of the top 100 oxycodone-dispensing doctors in the country, 98 of them lived in Florida. Today," she says, "there are none."

Here's PolitiFact Florida's take:

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1:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

President Obama Puts the Islamic State in His Sights During Tampa Address

The president addresses the nation from MacDill Air Force Base

President Barack Obama put the Islamic State - or ISIS - squarely in his sights Wednesday during an address at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He spoke to more than 1,000 servicemen and women at the home of Central Command, which conducts operations in the Middle East.

The president reiterated earlier comments that the U.S. will not go it alone against the Islamic State, but coordinate with more than 40 countries in a combined effort to contain and ultimately push back the militants.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. )

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