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.

Ways to Connect

Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

Are Florida's beaches and stormwater systems up to the test in the face of perhaps more - and more intense - hurricanes because of global warming? 

Photo courtesy World Rowing Championships

The best rowers in the world are converging on Sarasota this week. And over the weekend, the best of the best will compete in the World Rowing Championships.

Some of the spectators came a very long way to watch the action.

Suncoast Tiger Bay Club

Orlando attorney John Morgan continued his flirtation with running for governor during a stop Wednesday in St. Petersburg. There, he didn't hide his opinions.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Now there's a way to leverage the power of group buying to get solar power installed in homes and businesses. Two new cooperatives are being formed to spread the cost of getting solar power installed in homes in Hillsborough and north Pinellas counties.

The League of Women Voters and a consortium called Florida Solar United Neighborhoods started the solar power co-operatives. The co-op aids residents and businesses by using competitive bidding. 

Photo Courtesy PolitiFact Florida/Miami Herald

The subject of illegal immigration is never far from the front burner of politics, especially in the wake of President Trump's recent decision to look at rescinding DACA. That could revoke the legal status of children brought illegally into the country.

Most of Puerto Rico is without power Wednesday after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island as a Category 4 storm.

Now a Tampa attorney with roots on the island is collecting goods for survivors of the storm.

National Park Service

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc not only on people and buildings, but on nature. Birds were pushed by the winds from the Caribbean into Florida, and the Category 3 storm washed away beaches and bird habitat in the Everglades and Florida Keys. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida, about Irma's impact.

Here's some of the impacts outlined by Audubon Florida:

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Even though Hurricane Irma is well behind us, many neighborhoods remain several feet underwater - including one along the Alafia River near Lithia.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Eight out of every 10 homes in Polk County were without power in the aftermath of Irma, whose eye swirled directly over the western part of the county during the wee hours Monday. 

As Hurricane Irma continues its uncertain path west, Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday the state is taking no chances getting prepared for what has become a massive storm.

Scott has activated 7,000 members of the National Guard and talked to President Trump Monday night, trying to making sure that federal resources now tied up with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey will be available. And state workers dispatched to Texas and Louisiana are on their way home.

Atlanta Braves

It looks like the last hurdle has been cleared to build a new spring training home for the Atlanta Braves in Sarasota County.

The state has approved spending $20 million for the spring training complex, which will be built in the West Villages neighborhood of North Port in time for the 2019 season. Sarasota County will own the stadium, and chip in $22 million in tourist taxes. The city of North Port has already pledged $4.7 million  in sales taxes for the 6,500-seat stadium.

Wikipedia Commons

The University of Tampa on Aug. 29 fired a visiting professor who tweeted that Texas was experiencing “instant karma” from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey because the state voted for Republicans.

“I don't believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” Kenneth Storey, an assistant professor of sociology, tweeted. “Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn't care about them.”

By P. Barkley - Biological and Chemical Research Institute,, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Florida's citrus growers haven't had it easy lately, after being buffeted by canker and citrus greening. Now, they have another nemesis to worry about - citrus black spot.

Federal officials have already slapped a quarantine on exports of fruit grown in parts of Collier and Hendry counties, as well as an area along the Polk-Highlands County line.

WRCH 2017

For the first time in over 20 years, the World Rowing Championships will return to the U.S. next month in Sarasota-Bradenton.

This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the sport of rowing and what it means to host the championships in the Tampa Bay Area.

Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

The best rowers in the world will converge on Sarasota at the end of September. This will be the biggest competition to date at a new facility built in the shadow of Interstate 75.

Did U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson really align himself with "communists and dictators" and support "murderers?" WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida about that claim, as well as whether St. Petersburg's mayor didn't refute a comment during a recent debate that blacks should "go back to Africa."

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A scrap recycling center won't be built next to popular Sarasota bird sanctuary after all.

After a public hearing that took nearly eight hours, Sarasota commissioners voted three to two late Wednesday to reject an industrial recycling plant next to Celery Fields.

PolitiFact, the national fact-checking service that got its start in the Tampa Bay area, turns 10 this year. Before a reception Tuesday night at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg - which owns the Tampa Bay Times, its parent company - Associate Editor Amy Hollyfield reminisced about its beginnings.

They're beautiful - and they're deadly. And they're here. Lionfish are infesting waters around Florida, and there might be one tasty way to stem the tide of this invasive species.

Lionfish were  named for the beautiful mane of deadly stingers that surround their body. They were introduced in South Florida in the mid-1980's, and have since spread throughout the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast to New England. They're voracious eaters, outcompeting everything in their path.