Ashley Lisenby


Ashley Lisenby is a general assignment reporter at WUSF Public Media. She covered racial and economic disparity at St. Louis Public Radio before moving to Tampa in 2019.

She's a former newspaper reporter, having covered municipal government issues as a general assignment reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and covered Illinois government for The Associated Press.

Ashley started her journalism career at a group of weekly newspapers in suburban Chicago. She has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University.

Ashley is a Chicago native. She lives in the Tampa Bay area with her family, which includes a rambunctious dog. 

You can reach her at or at 813-974-8632.

Retired Army Sgt. Ronald Seaman shows off his "Tactical Black Panther" cosplay at the first AfroCon at the Robert W. Saunders Public Library in Tampa Saturday.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

A crowd instantly formed around Ronald Seaman when they saw what he could do.

The masked man with pointy ears jutting up from the side of his helmet rolled his wheelchair into the lobby of the Robert W. Saunders Public Library, dressed head-to-toe in black and gold armor, holding a fake weapon with a pseudo-spear attached.

Then, suddenly, his chair elevated him to a standing position. Everyone stopped and stared.

Gay pride flag
"WorldPride 2012 - 164" by Tom Morris via Wikimedia Commons

Pride, determination, and unity are the key messages of the fifth annual Tampa Pride festival and parade, organizers say.

Tampa Pride President Carrie West said organizers also want to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ advocates in the 50 years since the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

Law enforcement panel on human trafficking at the University of South Florida.
Ashley Lisenby | WUSF

Law enforcement say changes in policies and technology are helping them find human traffickers.

Officials from the Tampa Police Department, Pasco County Sherriff's Office and the Department of Homeland Security discussed the advances in and challenges of finding victims of sex trafficking and their abusers at a conference at the University of South Florida in Tampa Tuesday.

Dozens march in Wimauma, Florida, to celebrate Women's History Month and the contributions of women farmworkers on March 23.
Ashley Lisenby | WUSF

Rosalva Serrano worked with her family as a girl picking oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables and fruits in Florida, Georgia and other parts of the south.

“I’ve learned so much from being a farm worker,” Serrano said, “It was the best time of my life because I learned so much and I shared so many wonderful memories with my family.”

Polar Plunge participants wait to enter the pool at Adventure Island on Saturday, March 23.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

Teams and costume-clad swimmers walked, ran and jumped into the 'cold' waters of Adventure Island on Saturday as part of the first Tampa Polar Plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics Florida. 

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is caring for four new manatees transferred to the facility from Sea World.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

Three adult manatees and one calf have found a temporary home at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

Zoo staff welcomed the arrival of the animals Thursday during media tours of the new facility, which was closed for several months for state-funded renovations totaling $3 million.

Construction site
Stock image

Gaps in commercial building permit records and inaccurate charges are among some of the findings in an audit of Pasco County’s Central Permitting office.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Tampa area Muslims are mourning the deaths of at least 49 people in attacks on a pair of mosques in New Zealand Friday.

Hassan Shibly, attorney and chief executive director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa, took to social media early Friday morning to share his thoughts.

Former Republican State Rep. David Jolly moderated a town hall with ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at the Tampa Museum of Art on March 14.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

The message of former Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz is clear: Americans are tired of partisan politics.

He told a group of business owners at a Thursday town hall hosted by the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce that his brand of politics could be the antidote to that apathy.

People who are homeless and have low incomes receive clothes from volunteers at University Mall in Tampa on March, 12.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

People who are homeless and those who earn lower incomes came to receive food, clothes and other social services at University Mall in Tampa on Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar meets with environmental leaders and activists in Tampa on March, 10.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, says lawmakers cannot afford to ignore the environmental impacts of rising temperatures.

Christine Acosta prepares to take a ride with other bicyclists from Hyde Park to downtown Tampa on Bike to Work Day, Friday, March 8.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

Dozens of riders from across Tampa biked to work on Thursday to show that cycling in the Bay area is good for personal health and the environment.

Former Illinois Republican Rep. Steve Andersson talks about the history of the Equal Rights Amendment at a Athena Society luncheon in Tampa.
Ashley Lisenby | WUSF

Florida could become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment if resolutions by Democratic state lawmakers are approved.

Education Committee Chair Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr. at Wednesday's hearing.
The Florida Channel

A Senate measure could make it easier for people to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Lakeland commissioners will consider in coming weeks whether to close almost half of its voting precincts for the next municipal election.

Man standing with weapon
Manatee School For the Arts

A New York Times' story about the guardians at Manatee School For the Arts in Palmetto had locals buzzing with conversation on social media pages for days.

Micah Kubic

Micah Kubic has the deliberate, passionate cadence of a southern preacher.

“Our job today is to show the world, to tell them, rub your eyes. Don’t be adjusted to the deficiencies that we are seeing all over this country,” Kubic told a group gathered for an ACLU meeting at Stetson University in downtown Tampa on Saturday. “ In so many ways, we are adjusting to deficiencies and we can not let that happen in these very difficult, very challenging, very onerous times.”

Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Several months out of the year, Ugandan children travel with staff from the Watoto Ministries to cities around the world to share their stories of resilience.

Members of the Watoto Children’s Choir are performing Ugandan songs and Christian contemporary music around the Tampa Bay area over the next few weeks. On Wednesday, their audience was students and teachers at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa.

St. Petersburg Arts Alliance

Members of the Florida Cultural Alliance want lawmakers to give millions of dollars more in grant funding for arts and cultural programs throughout the state after years of declining contributions.

Mayor Rick Kriseman delivers State of the City address at Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.
Ashley Lisenby | WUSF

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman left several controversial issues out of his State of the City address over the weekend at Palladium Theater.

NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman announces Final Four weekend events at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa.
Ashley Lisenby | WUSF

The women’s college basketball season will culminate in a weekend-long celebration in Tampa this April.

NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman announced the 2019 Women's Final Four event schedule Wednesday at a news conference at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa's Channel District.

Chef Julius Forte prepares collard greens at the second annual Collard Greens Festival in St. Petersburg.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

Beads of sweat glisten on Chef Julius Forte’s face as he demonstrates how he prepares his collard greens.

“We often only know one way to cook (collards),” said Forte, the creator of a meal preparation company called Forte Fuels.

Forte is talking about how many families usually add pork and other salty products to their collard greens to make them tasty. But by eliminating fatty, salty products and cooking the leafy green vegetable in a pressure cooker, he believes the family favorite can be more nutritious.

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Polk County public school officials say more than 80 schools have been cleared after a recent round of tests looking for lead in drinking water.

Curtis Perry / Flickr

State officials say they have almost completed tests on thousands of sexual assault kits dating back five years in an effort to eliminate the backlog and help solve crimes.

A Tampa federal magistrate has called for an end to a part of the city’s ban on conversion therapy, saying it infringes on the free speech rights of licensed mental health professionals.