Steve Newborn

Assistant News Director

Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant 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.

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Ten WUSF News journalists were honored in eight categories in the 2016 Florida Associated Press Professional awards contest Saturday night in Orlando.

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You wouldn't think that a region that prides itself on outdoor activities and sunshine would have problems with air pollution. But Tampa Bay had some of the dirtiest air in the state in 2015.

The report came from the advocacy group Environment Florida. It says in 2015, Tampa Bay experienced 56 dirty air pollution days. The region - which is swept with sea breezes from the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay - was the worst area in the state in 2015 for both soot and smog.

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Would a bill that would penalize Florida cities and counties for offering sanctuary cities be the toughest in the nation? And do undocumented immigrants have Constitutional rights? WUSF's Steve Newborn poses these questions to Josh Gillin of PolitiFact Florida.

Baseball Forever St. Pete

This story was updated on April 6 at 12:20 p.m.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman today filled in city council members on the "Baseball Forever" plan to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in town.

The 43-page report gives an overview of the potential for Tropicana Field as a long-term home for the team.
It would convert much of the sprawling parking lot that now surrounds the Trop to include office towers, housing, a "retail entertainment and kid's zone," an on-site hotel and a "research and tech campus."

Kriseman said transportation projects on the drawing board would also make it easier for baseball fans to travel to games.

Tampa Bay Times

There are no national or state statistics that track police shootings.  But a Tampa Bay Times investigation has collected records from Florida's four hundred law enforcement agencies... counting every time someone was shot or killed by an officer between 2009 and 2014.

Pool/Edmund D. Fountain/Tampa Bay Times

The state of Florida came a step closer Tuesday to formally apologizing for the abuse of hundreds of children over the course of a century at the state-run Dozier School for Boys.

Jim Reid / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

One of the symbols of Florida is no longer an endangered species. That's according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced Thursday they're downlisting the manatee from endangered to threatened. Manatees have been classified as endangered since the first federal endangered species list was issued in 1967.

More manatees than ever - 6,300 - were counted during the winter, when they congregate around springs and warm power plant outfalls. But last year, more than one hundred manatees were killed, mostly by boaters.

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Even though violent crime has been steadily decreasing, can that be attributed to Florida's decade-old Stand Your Ground Law? WUSF's Steve Newborn poses that question - and another - if nearly half of all gun sales aren't registered - to Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida.

Florida Department of Transportation

A bill that would eliminate building toll lanes on existing free interstate highways has moved through the transportation committee of the Florida Senate.

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A rally to drum up support for a bill that would ban fracking for oil and gas in Florida is expected to draw people from around the state Wednesday morning on the steps of the state capitol. Hundreds are expected to attend from throughout the state.

The rally will feature appearances by State Senators Jack Latvala of Pinellas County and Gary Farmer of Fort Lauderdale. They're backing a bill to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has been introduced by Sen. Dana Young of Tampa.

Gov. Rick Scott gave his sixth State of the State address recently. He touched on some familiar themes, such as claiming to have helped create more than a million new jobs. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida to examine Scott's claims on commercial leases, teacher pay, tax cuts - and of course, jobs.

Courtesy Tampa Bay Times

Florida's legislative session is just beginning, but the battle over Governor Rick Scott's most prized programs has been going on for a while. 

One bill is making waves in advance of Tuesday's opening of the legislative session Tallahassee. It would restrict the rights of cities and counties to pass laws that haven't been given the OK by the state. And it is being backed by the speaker of the Florida House.

Laws passed by local governments - such as minimum wage raises, rules to curb pollution and protection for LGBT people - would be null and void, unless they have been given specific permission from the state Legislature.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

With the start of Florida's Legislative session just days away, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcocan traveled to Sarasota Thursday, offering a preview to members of The Argus Foundation at the Sarasota Yacht Club.

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Loosening regulations on who can own guns - and where they can be carried - is a hot topic in the run-up to this spring's legislative session in Tallahassee. The Florida Speaker of the House claims that most mass shootings happen in places where guns aren't allowed. WUSF's Steve Newborn checks out the claim with Amy Hollyfield of PolitiFact Florida.

Steve Newborn/WUSF News

A 515-mile pipeline is being placed through northern and central Florida. When it's completed, it will supply natural gas from the North and Midwest to power plants throughout the state. And the construction has attracted protesters and fired up neighbors affected by the project.

Gov. Rick Scott has been on a very visible tour of the state recently, painting efforts to pare back on some of his programs as potential job-killers. WUSF's Steve Newborn looks at those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

The speaker of the Florida House is trying to end funding for Visit Florida. He's claiming that the state's tourism marketing effort isn't having any noticeable impact on the number of visitors to the state.

But is it? WUSF's Steve Newborn runs the numbers by Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A squabble among Republican leaders in the state legislature has some people talking about a possible government shutdown.

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Build the wall? Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio says it wouldn't make much of a difference. WUSF's Steve Newborn looks at that claim and another comment on immigration from Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart with Josh Gillin of PolitiFact Florida.

 

For all the talk about President Trump's moves to restrict the flow of illegal immigrants into the country -- and yes, build the wall -- there might be more people who simply fly into the country and overstay their visa.

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