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 and politics 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

Vice President Mike Pence
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Vice President Mike Pence made his first campaign trip of the year to Florida Thursday, targeting voters inside the highly competitive I-4 corridor. His stops in Tampa and Kissimmee are a sign of who President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is targeting: older voters and Hispanic residents.

Vice President Mike Pence during a recent visit to NASA

The Florida primary is more than a month away, but it could still be a decisive election in the race for president. On Thursday, the vice president will come to Central Florida to stump for President Trump.

Mike Pence is targeting two key constituencies during his visit: senior citizens during a stop in New Tampa, and Hispanics in Kissimmee.

Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence won't be going to Wimauma next week after all - but he will be going to New Tampa.

People on the front lines of climate change gathered Tuesday in St. Petersburg.  The meeting was hosted by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, which was the driving force in organizing and forming the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Council to address the problems posted by climate change.

Felons voting rights
Daniel Rivero WLRN

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows Floridians deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the upcoming year. A slight majority of those polled favor giving felons who can't pay their fees the right to vote.

Three of the biggest road projects ever proposed in Florida are on a fast track created by state lawmakers, not transportation planners. It's being presented as a done deal, but some people say following the money may be the best way to stop them in their tracks.

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows Floridians deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the upcoming year. There isn't as much as a gap when it comes to legalizing marijuana.

Institute Director Frank Orlando says nearly 60% of those polled support limited legalization. That would be just enough to pass - if it gets on the ballot. About 31% oppose the measure.

He says there's a significant percentage of younger people who are in favor of legalization.

Students protest guns

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows that Floridians are deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the upcoming year. That sharp divide is reflected on how those polled feel about arming school teachers.

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows Floridians deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the coming year. But most Floridians support increasing the state's mininum wage.

Floridians will decide in November's elections whether to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

sunset at Everglades National Park
National Park Service

Florida's environment will be front and center during the upcoming legislative session in Tallahassee.

The state's increasingly fragile environment has been all over the news lately: red tide battering shores, blue-green algae polluting fresh water, invasive species outcompeting the natives and development continuing to gobble up sensitive lands. Those are some of the issues that state lawmakers are set to tackle.

The Hillsborough State Attorney's office is starting a program aimed at giving convicted felons back their right to vote. And it revolves around money.

Amendment 4 was passed by voters in 2018. It allows people with felony convictions to regain their voting rights after they complete their sentences. But state lawmakers tacked on a provision that requires them to pay off existing fees first. So many ex-felons who can't afford it, can't vote.

Speakers at Sierra Club
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Several environmental groups and lawmakers gathered in four cities across the state Friday to ask for full funding from Tallahassee for Florida's main conservation land-purchasing program.

Jeff Scott welcome to USF
University of South Florida

Jeff Scott has been named as the new head football coach at the University of South Florida.

The selection of the Clemson co-offensive coordinator was announced Monday by Michael Kelly, USF's Vice President of Athletics. Scott will become the fifth football coach in USF's history.

Come Monday, a national consortium of environmental groups will begin a major effort to transplant coral to South Florida's reefs.

The project is helmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its National Ocean Service. But it wouldn't be possible without Tampa's Florida Aquarium, which earlier this year became the first to successfully induce Atlantic coral to spawn in a laboratory.

climate change

The United Nations Climate Change Conference just wrapped up in Spain.  Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor was there, and pledged to take action.

Castor chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. She joined a delegation that just came back from Madrid. Castor said during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol there is a "leadership vacuum" on the issue from the U.S., since President Trump pledged to withdraw the country from the Paris climate accords.

Reed Bowman holds a scrub jay
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

On a satellite map, the Lake Wales Ridge stands out as a sandy spine running through the middle of Florida. From Clermont in the north, south almost to Lake Okeechobee, rolling hills give the area a very un-Florida-like feel.

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz at the podium
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County Republicans held their annual Lincoln Day dinner over the weekend. They plowed past the impeachment hearings and predicted better days are ahead.

Redistricting map for Districts 1-5 in Sarasota County.
Sarasota County

Sarasota County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to move forward with a plan to redistrict local elections on a map that was drawn up by a former head of the local Republican Party.  But a legal response may be  on the horizon.

Water Street Tampa
Water Street Tampa

The CEO of the company building the largest development ever in downtown Tampa spoke Friday morning at Cafe con Tampa.

Toll Roads
WUSF Public Media

Three of the biggest road projects ever proposed in Florida are on a fast track, spurred on by state lawmakers. One of the roads, which would cut through some of the state's most natural areas, is called the Southwest Central Connector.

That much is known.

How much will it cost?

Nobody knows.

TECO's  Big Bend Power Station
Google Maps

Florida's public utilities will still have to set goals to reduce public consumption of energy. That's the result of a move Tuesday by the state's Public Service Commission.

Toll roads
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

A task force that is coming up with recommendations to reduce the impacts of a planned toll road that will run through the middle of the state met Wednesday at Polk State College in Lakeland. 

Officials have not decided exactly where the road will be built.

Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The three members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition wrapped up their trek through the middle of the state this weekend. They regaled their supporters at a finale at historic Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales.

Their seven-day, 60-mile journey took the conservationists – Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, Joe Guthrie and Carlton Ward Jr. – through a natural pathway that's still preserved, connecting Highlands and Polk counties.

Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition crossed busy U.S. Highway 27 in southern Polk County Tuesday. It's the midpoint in their weeklong journey to keep a natural wildlife corridor connected into the future.

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.