Erin O'Brien

Digital News Intern

Erin O’Brien is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for fall 2019, her second semester with WUSF.

Born and raised in Clearwater, Erin moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida. She is a senior at USF pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news – editorial.

A portion of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapsed into Tampa Bay in May 1980 after it was struck by a cargo ship.
"The Skyway Bridge Disaster" / YouTube

A documentary about the 1980 Sunshine Skyway disaster has been released for on-demand audiences as the tragedy reaches its 40th anniversary. 

A plane lifts off the runway at Tampa International Airport.
Tampa International Airport / flickr

The current Thanksgiving travel season is projected to be the busiest time to fly with more than 26.8 million passengers - a new record, according to the Transportation Safety Administration - flying between November 22 and December 2.

Five panelists discuss on stage at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting in Ybor City.
Erin O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

With the Florida Department of Health reporting a significant increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases cases, some are calling for sex education reform.

Hillsborough County is one of 15 Florida districts that agreed to implement a comprehensive sex education system two years ago. This means that during classes, students learn not only about abstinence, but also safe sex practices. 

Red tide is getting worse in the Tampa Bay area, causing fish kills last week in parts of Sarasota County.

General elections are being held Nov. 5 in Charlotte, Highlands, Manatee, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.

panelists at a conference
Erin O'Brien

Immigration laws pushed by the Trump administration are having significant impacts on the psychological well-being of young people in America and sometimes can even lead to suicidal behavior, a researcher from the University of South Florida said.

Tampa Theatre is adding a unique cinematic experience for movie-goers. The historic theater is building a new microcinema in a space under its marquee that is now occupied by a flower shop.

Pinellas County is offering people with outstanding traffic and court fees a chance to pay it off at a discount.

St. Petersburg is one step closer to becoming the next Florida city to allow people to rent electric scooters. The City Council voted 6-1 Thursday in favor of a pilot program that will bring the small motorized rental vehicles to St. Pete’s streets by next year.

John Morgan speaking at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club luncheon.
Erin O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

High-profile Orlando attorney John Morgan is going to fight to increase the minimum wage for Floridians. Morgan claimed it at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club where he delivered a speech about his campaign on the legalization of medical marijuana and his future projects.

Cruise ship being guided in Port Tampa Bay
Port Tampa Bay Flickr

Passengers who prefer sailing out of Florida’s Gulf Coast over the ports on the Atlantic side of the state will soon have some new cruise lines to choose from.

Holland America and Celebrity will resume using Port Tampa Bay as a port of call next year, where they will be joined by newcomer MSC Cruises.

Yellow ribbon before a blue background. The words "Suicide Prevention Awareness" read along the bottom of the image.
Senior Airman Aubrey White / Air Combat Command

National Suicide Prevention Week begins Sunday, and first responders and veterans are the focus of two local summits.

Dog in a cage being evacuated ahead of Hurricane Gustav in Aug. 2008.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has urged hotels to relax their pet policies for people who are fleeing Hurricane Dorian.

Computer Keyboard
Wikimedia Commons

More than 100 million Capital One customers recently had some of their information compromised by a hacker.

Now, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida Muma College of Business is giving some advice on how to avoid falling victim to future data breaches.

traffic jam
Wikimedia Commons

More than 300,000 people have moved to Florida each year since 2015 and state economists are predicting the trend to continue into 2024.

Four panelists speak to members and visitors at Tampa Tiger Bay Club.
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

A bi-partisan panel of Tampa Bay political leaders discussed criminal justice reform at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club on Friday.

Hillsborough County Sheriff cruiser parked in front of brick wall that has a postcard of Tampa.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

By Erin O'Brien

Reversing a previous position, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is now accepting proposals for body cameras for their deputies. 

Young female green iguana
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

By Erin O'Brien

Green iguanas, an invasive species, have been making increased appearances in the Tampa Bay area. Now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking people to help them humanely decrease the number of the creatures. 

By Erin O’Brien

Last March, the World Economic Forum and Treepedia ranked Tampa as the leading city in the world in the amount of green space and trees. A new law signed this week by Gov. Ron DeSantis might threaten the status.

Intersection of Moon Lake Rd. and Bethwood Ave. in New Port Richie
Google Earth

A non-profit organization that says they aim to "provide positive role models in the LGBTQIA+ and allied communities" is celebrating Pride Month in a way few other groups are.

Pasco Pride adopted a section of Moon Lake Road in New Port Richey which was sponsored by an infamous hate organization 25 years ago.

Updated Pinellas County flood zone map.
Pinellas County

Pinellas County residents may find themselves living in a flood zone after a recent update to coastal flood maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These new changes can mean higher or lower flood insurance premiums for some people.

Front of the updated Florida driver's license.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

The last time Florida driver’s licenses were redesigned was in 2003.

In 2017, licenses and state identification cards debuted with a new look and enhanced security features.

Now, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or FLHSMV, is adding further modifications to the cards.