Scott Finn

Former News Director

Scott Finn is a former news director at WUSF Public Media, which provides in-depth reporting for Tampa Bay and all of Florida.

Before moving to Tampa in 2009, he was news director at West Virginia Public Broadcasting and a reporter for The Charleston Gazette, where he covered state government, business and education and won top awards from the National Education Writers Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Scott is a native of Creston, Iowa and has his master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  Scott is now general manager of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Ways to Connect

New York Times

The New York Times says global warming and sea level rise isn't just a threat in the future -- it was a fact in the past.

A new article says the amount of sea level rise could be much higher, and happen much faster, than previously believed. And if past changes are any clue, the sea levels could get pretty high:

In previous research, scientists have determined that when the earth warms by only a couple of degrees Fahrenheit, enough polar ice melts, over time, to raise the global sea level by about 25 to 30 feet. But in the coming century, the earth is expected to warm more than that, perhaps four or five degrees, because of human emissions of greenhouse gases.

Experts say the emissions that may make a huge increase of sea level inevitable are expected to occur in just the next few decades. They fear that because the world’s coasts are so densely settled, the rising oceans will lead to a humanitarian crisis lasting many hundreds of years.

This issue is critically important to the Tampa Bay region. Much of south Tampa, St. Petersburg and the Pinellas beaches would be flooded with just a few feet of sea level rise (see attached slideshow.)

It's the topic of a March event at Eckerd College: “Sea Level Rise in Florida: Mitigation, Adaptation or Retreat?”

The feud between one of the Tampa Bay region's biggest insurers and health care providers is over.

Late Friday, UnitedHealthcare and BayCare Health System announced they have reached a new, five-year agreement.

The two companies had fought over reimbursement rates. Their battle played out in a series of advertisements in local newspapers.

In late November, the agreement between the two entities ended, leaving thousands of customers wondering if they'd have to switch doctors or go to a different hospital.

Where is Reagan, a Labrador retriever that once belonged to Gov. Rick Scott?

Scott adopted the seven-year-old Labrador during his 2010 campaign for governor.

Supporters at the time made a big deal about how this was a “rescue dog” and not a purebred, like President Obama’s dog, Bo.

Jimmy Ullrich

The folks from Leadership Tampa stopped by WUSF today, and instead of taking them on the usual tour, we decided to hand the microphones over to them.

Several volunteers agreed to “fill in” for usual Florida Matters host Carson Cooper, and interview another member of Leadership Tampa. Other participants became producers and helped conduct and engineer the interviews.

Interviewees talked about everything from online safety to elephants. Here are their interviews:

Charlie and strippers and bears, oh my!

We had record-breaking traffic this year on, and we can thank Charlie Crist, RNC escorts and strippers, and wandering bears.

Here are the top ten stories on this year:

Who says there's no snow in Florida? Becky Wanamaker shared this story on WUSF's Facebook page.

Every December, our family drives to Orlando for a little winter wonderland fun at the Gaylord Palm's ICE! show.

We bundle up in those big heavy blue coats and marvel at the beautiful sculptures that created wonderful Christmas vignettes.

The kids (old and young) enjoy sliding down the ice slides. After we've had as much of the 9º temperature we can take, we head over to the atrium for some hot chocolate, conversation and entertainment.

Bill McBride ran against Jeb Bush in 2002 and supported the gubernatorial campaign of his wife, Alex Sink. He died of an apparent heart attack in North Carolina.

For all of you interested in health news, consider this a holiday present.

WUSF Public Media recently acquired Health News Florida, an award-winning website focused on explaining how health policy affects you and your family.

As of today, Health News Florida has a beautiful new website, with more health stories from NPR, and great audio and video as well.

Health News Florida also is producing a weekly radio feature that’s aired every Thursday on WUSF 89.7 and on public radio stations throughout the state of Florida.

Associated Press photo

It all started with a hug.

It was 2009. Charlie Crist was governor of Florida. The recession was starting to hit hard. And President Obama had just won election in a landslide.

Obama came to Ft. Myers to talk up his stimulus plan. Crist was grateful for the money.

And then, they hugged.

The Club for Growth and Marco Rubio campaigns used the photo to tar Crist as an insincere conservative. It helped Rubio beat Crist in the primary for U.S. Senate.

But Crist is not so easily defeated. He became an independent and kept running for Senate.

EVE EDELHEIT / Tampa Bay Times

The Tampa Bay Times recently profiled Gretchen Molannen, a 39-year-old suffering from a condition called persistent genital arousal disorder.

According to the Times, it is “a debilitating condition marked by continuous sexual arousal. Women who have the disorder are physically but not psychologically aroused.”

For Molannen, having the disorder meant she couldn’t work. She said she had attempted suicide at least three times in the past year.

You may have heard about it already -- a disturbing photo of a man, just pushed in front of a subway, seconds from his death.

The New York Post published the photo on the front page with the headline, "Doomed."

Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-making Project says this boils down to two ethical questions:

1. When should a photographer put the camera down and try to help a potential victim?

2. When should newspapers print disturbing photos?

Congratulations to WUSF filmmakers Jennifer Molina and Sarah Pusateri  for winning a Suncoast Emmy for their documentary "Uniform Betrayal: Rape in the Military."

The hour-long film exposes what many warriors may not consider when signing up to serve their country -- sexual assault or rape by their brothers and sisters in arms.

The film highlights an epidemic of sexual assault in the military that up until recently was largely overlooked by military officials.

The online magazine Longform has gathered some awesome stories about our area -- including lap dancer pioneer Joe Redner; carnival workers in Gibsonton, and Calvin Trillin's take on a newly-opened Disney World.

USF's Student Government and the company that runs the USF Sun Dome have a message for English indie rockers Mumford and Sons: We want you.

Specifically, they want the band to perform at USF on its worldwide tour promoting the new album, Babel.

"We have a lot of dedicated fans of Mumford & Sons; many of which even drove to see them perform at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee," said USF Student Body President, Brian Goff.

"The students here are passionate about the band and would love to have such great performers come on campus and showcase their talent.”

The New York Times is reporting the name of the FBI agent that started the investigation that brought down Petraeus. He helped foil a terrorist plot and shot and killed a veteran at the gates of MacDill in self-defense.

Amy Scherzer / Tampa Bay Times

Most of us have seen it – the photo of Tampa socialite Jill Kelley and former CIA Director David Petraeus on the Kelley’s South Tampa lawn.

She’s wearing a low-cut, high-hemmed black dress and party beads (it was taken during Gasparilla, Tampa’s version of Mardi Gras.)

It’s become the iconic photo of the scandal. But is it a fair portrayal of Kelley?

That’s the question on the mind of Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute’s Sense-making Project.

Just when you think it couldn't get any weirder...The Telegraph is reporting that former Gov. Charlie Crist once dated the twin sister of the Tampa woman at the heart of the Petraeus scandal.

Sunde Farquhar / Palm Harbor Patch

Should newspapers be in the business of endorsing candidates? And is there really an editorial firewall between the reporters and the editorial page of newspapers?

Yes, and yes, says Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute’s Sense-making Project. Case in point: the recent coverage and editorial campaign about fluoride in the Tampa Bay Times.

It started when a majority of Pinellas County commissioners – “the Fluoride Four” – voted to stop paying to put fluoride in water supplies.

The e-mails that brought down ex-CIA director David Petraeus were directed to a Tampa mother and MacDill AFB volunteer, Jill Kelley. His girlfriend, Paula Broadwell, apparently thought of her as a romantic rival and warned her to back off.

Senator Marco Rubio is attending Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's this week...could it be that Iowa holds the nation's first caucus? Apparently, he's also huddling with advisers to devise immigration reform plans.

Remember four-year-old Abbie Evans, reduced to tears after hearing yet another NPR story Mitt Romney and "Bronco Bama?"

It hit a nerve. Time magazine wrote, "We Are All Abigael Evans."

10 Tips for Covering the Big Event

Nov 10, 2012

WUSF News Director Scott Finn and WFAE News Director Greg Collard reflect on their coverage of the national conventions. This is republished from

Almost all the ballots are finally counted in Florida, and the Romney campaign admits that it has lost by a narrow margin -- about half a point.


This morning, about 12,500 voters in Florida's Pinellas County received a robocall from the county election supervisor's office...telling them they could drop off their absentee ballots TOMORROW.

They can't.

The call tells voters who requested mail ballots they had until 7 p.m. “tomorrow” to get them turned in. They actually must get them in by 7 p.m. tonight.

The calls were supposed to go out Monday, according to Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock.

About half of Florida's voting will take place before election day. And those results could be reported within 30 minutes of the official poll closing time...even if voters are still waiting in line.

In theory, Obama appears to be winning the early vote in Florida.

Democrats are leading Republicans 43 to 40 percent in early voting and absentee ballots returned. That's according to the United States Election Project.

And that's with one more day of in-person early voting left.

But Republicans have reason to be pleased. They've closed the gap compared to the last presidential election.

Democrats led 46-37 in this metric in 2008. And Obama only won the state by 3 points.

Historically, the Election Day makeup of the electorate tilts more Republican.

Depends. Whom do you believe?

The Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll out today shows that 6 percent lead for Romney in Florida.  It's consistent with earier polls by the same group, Mason-Dixon.

But other polls have the race in Florida tied or Obama slightly ahead. Nate Silver of the New York Times has Romey ahead by a tiny .6 percent in its polling average. (see below)

Karin Markert

As Hurricane Sandy began to hit Washington D.C., a photo went viral: three soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a driving rain. called it, “one of the more stunning pictures we've come across today.”

He's been on the lam for three years. He's got his own Facebook page and his exploits made national news.

And now, he's in custody.

The "mystery monkey" was spotted earlier this afternoon near Lake Maggiore in St. Petersburg, shot by a tranquilizer dart and taken to Animal Hospital of Northwood.

President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney focus on foreign policy the last debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Join Brian Lehrer and the (Mostly) Swing State Radio Network for a call-in special to preview the debate at 8 p.m. And then we'll live stream and live chat the action - and of course, play DEBATE BINGO!