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

Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

A trio of conservationists trotted off on horseback into the woods of a state park near Sebring Sunday. It was the first leg of a seven-day journey to travel a natural pathway that connects two major preserved areas of Florida.  

Tropical Storm Nestor made a powerful arrival Friday night and early Saturday, producing tornadoes along with heavy downpours and gusty winds that knocked out power to thousands across the Tampa Bay area.

Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

They've gone on two 1,000-mile treks across the state, as well as paddling a narrow green thread bisecting Disney World. This weekend, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is getting cranked up once again.

honey bees
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

One of the foundations of American agriculture is under attack on several fronts. The victims - bees. WUSF visits one beekeeper in Polk County who has to drive thousands of miles every year to keep his hives humming.

Florida's only Democrat elected to statewide office turned her focus Thursday to energy conservation, as  Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried unveiled a list of conservation measures.

WUSF News is committed to covering the upcoming presidential election with a focus on the issues – and not the political horse race.

We’re spending time in the community listening – and asking what matters to you and your neighbors.

The Capitol Steps have been garnering laughs at the expense of politicians for more than nine presidential election cycles. They'll be at the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg on Saturday, October 5, with their new show, The Lyin' Kings. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Mike Thornton, who has played all of the presidents since Ronald Reagan.

Offshore fish cages

What could become the nation's first fish farm in federal offshore waters has been proposed for 45 miles off Sarasota in the Gulf of Mexico. And it is rousing the ire of some fishermen and environmentalists.

Paul Warren
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The two biggest utilities in Florida - Duke Energy and the parent company of Florida Power and Light - have just announced they plan to cut their emissions by more than half by 2030. And North Carolina-based Duke wants to eliminate their carbon output by mid-century.  

Electoral College

A move is gaining steam around the county that would change the way the president is elected. It would reward whoever wins the popular vote, and disable the Electoral College.

Chris Sprowls
Florida House of Representatives

The Tampa Bay area should get a larger voice in the state legislature next year. Members of the Florida House on Tuesday named Chris Sprowls of Pinellas County as its next speaker.

City of Tampa reservoir
Southwest Florida Water Management District

It looks like "Toilet to Tap" is officially kaput.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor on Thursday removed a request for $300 million that would have funded the program in her public works budget.

The project -- officially called the Tampa Augmentation Project -- would take treated wastewater that now flows into Tampa Bay and pump it into the underground aquifer. It would then be re-pumped into the city's reservoir before being treated again as drinking water.

Green sea turtle

As Hurricane Dorian's wrath continues to pound the Atlantic coast, concerns have surfaced about what will happen to Florida's sea turtles.

Hurricane Dorian
Thomas Iacobucci / WUSF Public Media

Shelves are emptying of essentials like bottled water as Hurricane Dorian spins closer to Florida.

A power tower

A proposed change to the state Constitution that would alter the way Floridians get their electricity came before the state Supreme Court Wednesday. The amendment needs the justices' blessings before it can get on next year's ballot.

Bill Galvano
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The first meeting of a task force that will look at building three new toll roads through rural areas of Florida met Tuesday in Tampa, in what was described as a defining moment for the future of the state.

The plan would expand the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border; extend the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; and add a new multi-use corridor, including a toll road, from Polk County to Collier County.

The Florida Aquarium recently announced they had induced Atlantic coral to spawn in a laboratory for the first time.
Florida Aquarium

Florida's coral reefs are in trouble. Scientists say they've been declining for decades.

But researchers have very recently come up with some exciting results that they say show promise in restoring these beautiful and important marine communities.

Tropical Storm Dorian
National Weather Service

Updated 8/26 at 11 a.m.:

A tropical storm in the Carribean is expected to strengthen to a hurricane by early next week.

The storm formed in the Atlantic Ocean early Saturday and began strengthening as it moved west, traveling at speeds of about 12 miles per hour toward the Caribbean Ocean.

Suncoast Parkway
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The public will get its first look at a massive plan to build three new toll roads through rural parts of the state on Tuesday.

The "kickoff" event will be held beginning at 8 a.m. at the Tampa Convention Center. Public comment will be held at 4:45 p.m.

Coral spawning
Florida Aquarium

Scientists at the Florida Aquarium on Wednesday announced they have for the first time induced Atlantic coral to spawn in a laboratory. This gives hope for the beleaguered Florida reef.

The Hillsborough River
Southwest Florida Water Management District

Sparks started flying Monday during a meeting of Tampa Bay Water, and got so bad the chairman said it could threaten the future of the regional water authority.

"We are teetering on the edge of water war. Teetering," said Tampa Bay water chair and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.

Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Sea levels locally may be rising more quickly than had been anticipated. The estimates for Tampa Bay have just gone up.

Scientists monitoring Tampa Bay have updated the most conservative estimate for the expected rise in the bay during this century. That means they're no longer considering the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's prediction of a 2-foot rise. The conservative estimate now is from three to 3 1/2 feet above current sea levels.

Keri O'Neil
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

A bayside laboratory in Apollo Beach is ground zero for an attempt to preserve Florida's coral reefs, which are dying at an alarming rate.

Senator Marco Rubio
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio condemned white nationalism Tuesday in the wake of the mass shooting in Texas. It is being investigated as a federal hate crime.

During a trip to St. Petersburg, he compared the ideology to that of radical Muslim jihadis, saying both groups claim everyone else is evil and dangerous, and need to be "crushed."

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The Florida American Civil Liberties Union is starting a new campaign to focus on three main areas where it believes civil liberties are at stake. The group is vowing to do whatever it takes until they succeed.

The ACLU is pivoting to concentrate its efforts in three areas: voting rights, immigrant rights and criminal justice reform. New state president Micah Kubic says this is in response to what he calls the "poisoned fruit" of the recent legislative session.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Englewood to announce the members of the Red Tide Task Force
Florida Governor's Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced the appointments of 11 researchers to a reinvigorated task force looking into combating red tide. The most recent red tide outbreak was the longest one in memory.

Big Bend
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Electric got the go-ahead from the governor and cabinet Thursday to switch part of the Big Bend power plant from coal to natural gas.

Florida Panther
Photo courtesy IFAS

An experiment to increase the genetic diversity of the Florida panther has apparently worked. That's the conclusion of a 10-year study released this week.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Electric recently announced plans to convert one of its coal-fired units at the Big Bend power plant to natural gas. But Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor wants the state to block that plan this week.

Nikki Fried speaks about gas skimmers.
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried came to a St. Petersburg Exxon gas station Thursday with a message to drivers: be aware of illegal credit card skimmers at gas pumps, or your wallet might get taken for a ride.