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Sunshine State Awards Highlights WUSF Journalism


Journalists from WUSF Public Media received three honors Saturday night at the annual Sunshine State Awards hosted by the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The newsroom won first place in the Investigative Reporting category for its series on rising housing costs in Hillsborough County. Reporters Cathy Carter, Stephanie Colombini and Roberto Roldan shared the stories of working class residents, retirees and others in the eight-part series “Growing Unaffordable.” That series also has been recognized by national and regional news organizations.

Roldan and reporter Steve Newborn also received first-place honors in the Government Reporting category. The entry included features looking at Florida’s gubernatorial candidates vying for votes in politically divided Pinellas County, efforts in Sarasota to get members of predominately black churches to the polls, and a profile of former Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s loss in the primary race for governor – his first-ever political loss.

Colombini also won third place in the Sunshine State feature reporting category. Her story detailed how the Gulf Coast is gaining a reputation as a mecca for glass art.

The Sunshine State Awards is celebrating its 25th year in 2019. It highlights the work of journalists in radio, television, newspaper, online and trade publications.

“2018 was a year that challenged us as journalists in Florida—the shooting in Parkland, Hurricane Michael devastating the Panhandle, the midterm elections, and more,” said SPJ Florida Past President Christiana Lilly.

“We don’t do what we do for the awards, but once a year it’s wonderful to get together with colleagues across the state to recognize the hard work we put into telling the stories of the Sunshine State, and continue to motivate each other to report the news and defend the First Amendment.”  

I’m the lucky one who guides the WUSF News team as it shares news from across Florida and the 13 amazing counties that we call the greater Tampa Bay region.
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