Steve Newborn

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.

A study seven years in the making by University of South Florida researchers has created a map of how many species live in the Gulf of Mexico. This will give experts an idea of how much damage would take place from a future oil spill.

Has there really been more students killed in schools this year than U.S. troops killed in war zones overseas? And just how "independent" is Florida's Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson? WUSF's Steve Newborn looks into these claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida. 

A new report shows Florida has some of the worst water polluters in the country. And some of the worst violators are in the Tampa Bay area.

Do just one percent of licensed gun dealers supply more than half the guns recovered in crimes? And is Florida one of the only states that prohibits a gun registry? WUSF's Steve Newborn gets the answers from PolitiFact Florida's Allison Graves.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran says the state’s pending school marshal program is the “first-of-its kind” in the nation.

And the Congressman representing Parkland said mass shootings went up 200 percent in the decade after the national assault weapons ban expired.

WUSF's Steve Newborn gets to the bottom of these claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

The national president of the Audubon Society will be speaking at its Sarasota chapter Monday (March 12). WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with David Yarnold about the local impacts of preservation and climate change, such as preserving Sarasota's Celery Fields birding area and artificial islands created to stem erosion in Tampa Bay.

In the wake of the shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, accusations are going around at a fast clip. 

One of the most sensitive topics in Florida politics has to do with oil rigs creeping closer to our shores. Recently, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke took Florida off the table when it comes to offshore oil drilling. That was lauded by Gov. Rick Scott - but it led to charges he flip-flopped.

Did Gov. Rick Scott really brag about the state's low wages during business trips? And is there a critical shortage of nurses in Florida? WUSF's Steve Newborn gets to the bottom of these claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.


Gov. Rick Scott has appointed one of Florida's leading environmental advocates to run the state park system.

Eric Draper has been executive director of Audubon Florida for 18 years. At the end of the month, he'll take over as director of 164 state parks. It's a bit of a switch for a service that has been criticized in the past for proposals such as logging and grazing in state parks.

Did Obamacare exacerbate the opioid crisis in America? And is expanding the child tax credit the only way the middle class will get a break from the GOP's proposed tax plan? We tackle those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc not only on people and buildings, but on nature. Birds were pushed by the winds from the Caribbean into Florida, and the Category 3 storm washed away beaches and bird habitat in the Everglades and Florida Keys. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida, about Irma's impact.

Here's some of the impacts outlined by Audubon Florida:

A scrap recycling center won't be built next to popular Sarasota bird sanctuary after all.

After a public hearing that took nearly eight hours, Sarasota commissioners voted three to two late Wednesday to reject an industrial recycling plant next to Celery Fields.

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty nationwide rose a staggering 56 percent. But what about the loved ones they left behind?

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Bartow comes from a long line of citrus farmers, so it's no surprise he's in favor of a continued flow of migrant labor to help pick that fruit. But is he in favor of "amnesty"  for all people in the country illegally? 


A cleanup of one of the most urban - and polluted - streams running through Sarasota began Saturday.  We visit one condominium, whose residents not only asked for help to restore Phillippi Creek - but are helping to pay for it, as well.

 


A new disease has been found in five Florida counties, including Hillsborough. It goes by the name of rat lungworm, and it comes courtesy of snails.

Researchers at the University of Florida have found the parasites can cause meningitis in people. And it's been found in Hillsborough, along with Alachua, Leon, St. Johns and Orange counties.

The south side of St. Petersburg - best known among locals as "Midtown" -- is a predominantly African-American area with a high rate of poverty.

The claims are flying fast and furious around the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. A version proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives would replace it with the American Health Care Act.

The Florida Legislature has voted to eliminate funding for Florida Forever, the state's primary land-conservation program.

The only part of Florida Forever that is receiving any money this coming year is $10 million dollars for ranchers to not develop their land.  Since 2001, the state has spent nearly $3 billion to buy more than 700,000 acres of land.

A handful of residents living near the Tampa Sports Authority's Babe Zaharias golf course are protesting the application of the fumigant "Curfew," which is set for Tuesday, May 9. They say the insecticide, which is being used to control nematodes, can be harmful to people and animals. 

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that would open up areas off the West Coast and the Northeast Unites States to oil drilling. The executive order would reverse an Obama-era ban on drilling.

Marches to raise awareness about the need to address climate change and rising sea levels will be held Saturday throughout the Tampa Bay area. It's part of a worldwide effort to urge action to curb greenhouse gases.

The swirl of controversy after the decision by Orange County State Attorney Aramis Ayala not to apply the death penalty in cases assigned to her has filtered down to a discussion of cases on Florida's death row.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Tuesday morning because of the number of wildfires burning around Florida.

Officials say wildfires in Florida have already burned 2 1/2 times more land in the first three months of 2017 than during the same period last year. There are more than 100 active wildfires across more than 20,000 acres.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the state hasn't seen this active of a wildfire season since 2011.

You wouldn't think that a region that prides itself on outdoor activities and sunshine would have problems with air pollution. But Tampa Bay had some of the dirtiest air in the state in 2015.

The report came from the advocacy group Environment Florida. It says in 2015, Tampa Bay experienced 56 dirty air pollution days. The region - which is swept with sea breezes from the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay - was the worst area in the state in 2015 for both soot and smog.

There are no national or state statistics that track police shootings.  But a Tampa Bay Times investigation has collected records from Florida's four hundred law enforcement agencies... counting every time someone was shot or killed by an officer between 2009 and 2014.

One of the symbols of Florida is no longer an endangered species. That's according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced Thursday they're downlisting the manatee from endangered to threatened. Manatees have been classified as endangered since the first federal endangered species list was issued in 1967.

More manatees than ever - 6,300 - were counted during the winter, when they congregate around springs and warm power plant outfalls. But last year, more than one hundred manatees were killed, mostly by boaters.

Even though violent crime has been steadily decreasing, can that be attributed to Florida's decade-old Stand Your Ground Law? WUSF's Steve Newborn poses that question - and another - if nearly half of all gun sales aren't registered - to Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida.

A rally to drum up support for a bill that would ban fracking for oil and gas in Florida is expected to draw people from around the state Wednesday morning on the steps of the state capitol. Hundreds are expected to attend from throughout the state.

The rally will feature appearances by State Senators Jack Latvala of Pinellas County and Gary Farmer of Fort Lauderdale. They're backing a bill to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has been introduced by Sen. Dana Young of Tampa.

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