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 transportation 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; how the BP Deepwater Horizon spill affected Florida; and he followed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition through the state - twice.

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.


4:52 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Nelson Moves to Extend Gulf Oil Drilling Ban

Bill Nelson addresses the Senate, next to a picture of workers cleaning an oil-soaked beach in hazmat gear

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson today filed a bill that would extend the moratorium on oil drilling off Florida's Gulf of Mexico coast. The move comes the day after the fifth anniversary of the BP oil spill. 

The bill would extend the moratorium on drilling at least 125 miles off Florida's Gulf Coast until 2027. The ban currently is in place until 2022, but last week, another senator from Louisiana moved to repeal it. The bill by Sen. Bill Cassidy would allow oil rigs at least 75 miles closer to Florida's western coastline.

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9:08 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Scientists Link Dolphin Deaths in Gulf to 2010 BP Spill

Researchers recorded data and photographed a dead dolphin stranded along the coastline at Port Fourchon, La., in 2012
Credit ouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

In a new study, a team of scientists says there’s a definite link between the massive BP oil spill in 2010 and a record number of dolphin deaths along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The scientists said large numbers of dead bottlenose dolphins found stranded along shores since the spill suffered from lung and adrenal lesions caused by swimming in oil-contaminated seas.

The research paper backs up previous findings linking dolphin deaths to the oil spill.

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PolitiFact Florida
6:00 am
Wed May 20, 2015

PolitiFact Florida Checks Out Iraq Remarks by Jeb, Marco

The Iraq war is back in the news in a big way, after Jeb Bush stumbled on the question of "knowing what you know know, would you have invaded Iraq." We'll get to Jeb in a bit, but his potential adversary for the Republican nomination for president is also getting some grief on the topic. Marco Rubio was questioned repeatedly by Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace in a recent interivew, asking him if he’d changed positions on Iraq.

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PolitiFact Florida
1:01 am
Wed May 13, 2015

PolitiFact Florida on Scott Giving LIP to the Feds; Clinton on Immigration

The quagmire in Tallahassee over health care spending forced an early end to the spring legislative session. At the heart of it is a federal program known as the Low Income Pool, or LIP. It reimburses Florida hospitals more than two billion dollars a year for providing care to low-income or indigent patients. The federal government is phasing the program out as it shifts to new programs provided by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

Now, Gov. Scott is making the rounds in Washington D.C., trying to prod the feds to keep funding LIP. Now, Scott has backtracked from his previous position on supporting expansion of Medicaid in the state to serve low-income residents.

Scott recently spoke to reporters in the nation's capitol.

"The families that are covered through the Low Income Pool is a different group of individuals than are covered by Obamacare," Scott said.

Click on the video below to hear what he had to say about LIP and Medicaid:

PolitiFact Florida rated his statement "Mostly False," saying:

This makes it sound as if the people who would qualify for Medicaid under an expansion are completely different than patients who leave hospitals with unpaid bills the LIP fund helps pay to providers. Health policy experts said that while there would still be uninsured people not paying their bills under an expansion, plenty of overlap exists between the two, especially at lower incomes.

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9:33 am
Fri April 24, 2015

'Canopy Meg' Takes to the Treetops for an Evening of Women and Science

Meg Lowman

Margaret Lowman  got her nickname of "Canopy Meg" at an early age, for her penchant for climbing trees. Pretty soon, she became renowned in scientific circles for her research on the tops of trees - or their canopy.

She's speaking April 30th at the Tampa Theatre with another famous woman scientist, Sylvia Earle.  They will be introduced by WUSF's own Susan Giles Wantuck.

We talk with the Sarasota resident on why canopies are a vital part of the earth's ecology - and how women can succeed in science.

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9:01 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Marine Expedition to Investigate Plight of Manatees, Dolphins in Cuba

This has been a record year for counting the number of manatees in Florida, but what about our island neighbor to the south? Columbus first mentioned the waters off Cuba swimming with manatees, but since then they've been hunted for food.

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12:09 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

PolitiFact Florida on Rubio and 'Dreamers,' Scott on Medicaid

Now that Sen. Marco Rubio is officially running for president, he's already being hit with a barrage of attack ads. One of them says he tried to deport so-called "dreamers."  We talk about that - and whether Gov. Rick Scott is taking both sides of the Medicaid debate - with PolitiFact Florida's Josh Gillen.

On the day Sen. Marco Rubio announced his presidential campaign, opponents wasted little time attacking his record.

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4:48 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Susan MacManus on Hillary, Rubio Entering Race

USF Professor Susan MacManus

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced today that he will be running for president on the Republican ticket  in 2016 - a day after Democrat Hillary Clinton announced her presidential plans. WUSF's Steve Newborn spoke with USF political science professor Susan MacManus about the implications for the race ahead.

She says it's looking like Florida is going to once again be the epicenter of presidential politics.

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1:16 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Keys to Freeze Pedaling 9,000 Miles from Key West to Deadhorse, Alaska

Keys to Freeze bikes into Blackwater River State Park to meet with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition
Steve Newborn WUSF News

A group of six 20-somethings - including three from the Tampa Bay area - decided they needed a little exercise while getting a tour of America. So they decided to hop on their bicycles and pedal across the country.

No, this isn't the typical coast-to-coast trip. They started in January in Key West - and are biking to Deadhorse, Alaska.

Nine thousand miles.

The call themselves "Keys to Freeze."

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11:09 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Protecting Florida's Rare Coastal Dune Lakes

Sunset at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Steve Newborn WUSF News

Tucked into a slice of the western Florida Panhandle is one of the rarest ecosystems in the world. The Coastal Dune Lakes are where fresh water lakes occasionally mix with the salty surf of the Gulf of Mexico.  April 2 , WUSF TV will air the premiere of a documentary of this unique ecosystem, Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast.

Jacquee Markel swings open a wooden gate in her backyard that leads to another world. She lives on Oyster Lake, one of the Panhandle's Coastal Dune Lakes.

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11:05 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

PolitiFact Florida on Rubio's Defense Spending; Patrick Murphy's Health Care Votes

Our military budget is back in the news.

Even with the U.S. combat role in Iraq and Afghanistan officially over, potential presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio is calling for a reversal of a shrinking defense budget.

Earlier this month, Rubio moved to raise the Pentagon’s budget - despite the end to two wars. In a speech on the Senate floor, he said the defense budget already has gone down too much.

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Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition
1:39 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition Ends 1,000-Mile Journey

From left, Carlton Ward Jr., Mallory Lykes Dimmitt and Joe Guthrie after they finished their 1,000-mile trip
Steve Newborn WUSF News

Their trip took them nearly a thousand miles, from the headwaters of the Everglades through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition has finally come to an end, on an sandy barrier island near Pensacola Beach. WUSF traveled with the trio, and we report on their thoughts on the end of the expedition - and what the future might hold.

If their journey of a thousand miles began with one step, it ended with a couple of dozen hugs.

SOUND: Hugs on the beach after landing.

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Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition
11:18 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Exploring Florida's Wild Northwest with the Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition

Expedition photographer Carlton Ward Jr. shoots the massive bluffs overlooking Juniper Creek
Steve Newborn WUSF News

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is in the final week of a nearly 1,000-mile trek from Central Florida across the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. They're hiking and paddling sandy-bottom rivers in the state's wild northwest corner. It's also home to the biggest military bases in Florida. This week, we report on how helicopter bombing runs mix with the peace of the wild.

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Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition
1:57 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Saving Wildlife Under Superhighways with the Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition

Expedition members cross underneath Interstate 4 in January
Steve Newborn WUSF News

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is now crossing through the western Panhandle, after they've hiked, biked and kayaked from Central Florida. But to get there, they had to cross some other emblems of Florida - traffic-choked Interstate highways. We go to some of the biggest barriers to the expedition's goal of establishing a continuous wildlife corridor.

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Florida Matters
1:43 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Florida Matters: FL Wildlife Corridor Update From The Shores of Apalachicola Bay

Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Nearly 1,000 miles in 70 days -- that's how long a trio of wildlife enthusiasts are traversing the state, from Central Florida to the Alabama state line. 

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