Joshua Gillin, PolitiFact Florida/Times Staff Writer

Joshua Gillin

Joshua Gillin is a staff writer for PolitiFact Florida and the Tampa Bay Times. He previously was a reporter, editor and blogger for tbt*, the daily tabloid edition of the Times, and still writes their bi-weekly video game column, Geek Speak. A Nebraska native, he has a degree in journalism from his home state university and is a diehard Cornhusker. Besides a stint writing about media news for The Poynter Institute, he has worked in many writing and editing capacities in news, sports and features at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He lives in St. Petersburg with his lovely wife, a young daughter and an aging tomcat larger than most zoo animals.

Phone: (727) 893-8337

Email: jgillin@tampabay.com

Twitter: @JPGillin

  1. Medicare Advantage muddle

    News

    Gov. Rick Scott, like many other Republicans, has pinned part of his re-election strategy on criticizing the Affordable Care Act. He's attacked President Barack Obama's signature legislation time and again in campaign ads, especially the law's effects on Medicare. The ads claim that rate cuts will drastically alter seniors' access to the doctors and care they want.

    But the ads aren't telling the whole story. The Scott ads are about changes to Medicare Advantage, in which private companies administer insurance plans for Medicare-eligible recipients. That's not the same as what's referred to as traditional Medicare, which is what most people think of when they hear the name of the program....

  2. 'This War of Mine' shows civilian side of combat games

    Pop Culture

    With the reputation video games have for celebrating violence as glamorous and fun (understandable with the hype surrounding the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield release), one developer has shifted focus to the unfortunate truth behind warfare: civilians.

    11 Bit Studio's This War of Mine eschews the blood and guts, macho run 'n' gun of the average FPS to focus on the hardscrabble existence of a conflict's bystanders. The game is based on stories of refugees and survivors from flashpoints like Bosnia, Syria, the former Yugoslavia and even from the accounts of an American soldier in Iraq. And the purpose is not to glorify the mayhem of battle, but rather reflect on the disastrous consequences of it....

    The teaser trailer for This War of Mine skips the action and the rhetoric and goes straight for the visceral experience of just trying to survive.
  3. PolitiFact Florida: March's five most popular fact-checks

    Blog

    Education and medical marijuana dominated March web traffic at PolitiFact Florida.

    Claims from Rick Scott's State of the State address, whether or not the company that will help replace the FCAT promotes LGBT lifestyles to kids and the arrest record of prominent medical cannabis advocate Cathy Jordan were among the top five items for the month.

    Read a roundup of the quintet of claims here....

  4. PolitiFact Florida: Did Rick Scott try to cut education by $3.3 billion?

    Blog

    Charlie Crist has gone on the offensive againt Gov. Rick Scott in this year's gubernatorial campaign. On his website, Crist says "Rick Scott tried to slash school funding by $3.3 billion."

    In a year in which Scott is touting his proprosal for record spending on education, PolitiFact Florida decided to return to 2011 and check into Crist's claim.

    Read the story at PolitiFact Florida here....

  5. ReScape is picking up where Oculus Rift never went

    Pop Culture

    While the tech world is tittering about Facebook's breathtaking $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift (and whether it is a boon or bane for virtual reality gaming), a tiny firm in Sweden hopes to ride a similar wave of initial crowdsourcing support.

    The difference is, 13th Lab has a product people might actually use.

    ReScape is a new project that uses your iPhone to map your environment and turn it into a virtual reality FPS game board. The phone is locked into a plastic, submachine gun-like controller and fitted with a camera that helps the program stitch together this AR game, then layers AI opponents on it to create an immersive shooter that reacts to player movements....

    The Office Defender game for 13th Labs’ ReScape lets you turn any environment — and cooperative player — into a part of a real run-and-gun scenario.
YouTube
  6. PolitiFact Florida: No Tax For Tracks inflates Pinellas transit proposal

    State Roundup

    Now that the Congressional District 13 special election has concluded, Pinellas County can get back to worrying about other issues — like the fledgling mass transit initiative called Greenlight Pinellas.

    Not everyone is a fan of the expanded transportation plan, with the activist group No Tax For Tracks being its most vocal opponent.

    "Greenlight Pinellas is nothing but an attempt to put a happy face on a 300 percent tax increase and money grab," the group's website, RailTaxFacts.com, trumpets....

  7. 'Titanfall' may rule whether shooters need to show character

    The Feed

    The system seller the Xbox One has needed is here, with the release Tuesday of Respawn's Titanfall. Whether or not the FPS turns out to be a turning point in software design is still a question mark.

    The PC- and Xbox (360 and One)-exclusive release is a resounding success, but in an industry obsessed on tentpole releases driving the system, so to speak, it'll take some time to find out if this new franchise has legs....

    The giant robots and ’splosions are nice, but where’s the heart?
  8. Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, March 4.
  9. Jolly's right: Social Security benefits not guaranteed

    State Roundup

    Social Security has been a popular political football during the campaign for Pinellas County's open U.S. House seat, with both sides acknowledging the earned benefit program needs reform, but differing on how it should be handled.

    During an untelevised debate in Clearwater on Feb. 25, candidates Alex Sink and David Jolly traded barbs over their platforms, with Sink attacking the Republican onstage by saying Jolly had declared that Social Security was not guaranteed. Jolly said that wasn't his opinion, it's actually what the highest court in the land had ruled. Jolly said it was up to elected officials to make sure seniors get their benefits....

  10. Education, Medicaid expansion among topics for Legislature, Weatherford says

    Blog

    Republican House Speaker Will Weatherford expects the 2014 legislative session to focus on health care, education and poverty, including ways to deal with laws on the books that make it difficult for constituents to make ends meet.

    While saying he’s “very proud of the unemployment rate,” the chasm between the rich and the poor in Florida and its effects on the state need to be addressed. Chief issues include the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and the discrepancies in education quality, he said.

    Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, made his comments during a visit to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board Thursday....

  11. 'BioShock' creator's focus on digital heralds a new era

    The Feed

    It seems there's an end to the story for the makers of BioShock Infinite. Studio head Ken Levine says his Irrational Games will be shutting down for good to focus on "a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two."

    How much smaller? Only about 15 people out of a studio of about 200 were going to keep their jobs, the Feb. 18 announcement on the studio's website read. The more positive spin, however, is what Levine will be doing....

    There was a dream that was Columbia, a dream that didn’t foresee digital downloads.
  12. PolitiFact Florida: Will doctors write prescriptions for medical marijuana if you have an itchy back?

    State Roundup

    As medical marijuana heads to the ballot in Florida in November, opponents like Senate President Don Gaetz have argued that it will be too easy for people who want to smoke pot recreationally to get their hands on it.

    "It doesn't require a physician writing a prescription, and it can be for purposes as specious as having a back that needs to be scratched," Gaetz said in an interview on Feb. 13. "That's the legalization of marijuana that I oppose and will vote against in November." We wondered if Gaetz's specific claims about physicians and purposes was fully accurate....

  13. PolitiFact: Democrats' claim that David Jolly wants to privatize Social Security is misleading

    State Roundup

    Issues affecting seniors continue to drive a lot of the attack ads in the race to fill the seat held by the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.

    One of the more persistent has been Democratic accusations that Republican candidate David Jolly wants to fundamentally change Social Security. In a robocall that began targeting Pinellas County's independent seniors this month, the Florida Democratic Party reinforces the attack....

  14. PolitiFact: GOP mailer against Alex Sink short on facts

    State Roundup

    Thanks to Alex Sink's years as a banking executive in Florida, plus her statewide campaigns for higher office, Republicans have had years to hone attacks against her in the race for Pinellas County's open U.S. House seat.

    In a mailer, the Republican Party of Florida lists a raft of attacks about Sink's past they have used over and over.

    The mailer is designed to resemble a job application, as Sink is asking Pinellas County voters to hire her as their congressional representative. The flier uses her "prior work history" to make attacks on her....

  15. With 'Alien: Isolation,' Sega blasts into a world of nostalgia

    The latest generation of consoles is here, but this year Sega is banking on a hit straight from 1979.

    It's pretty common knowledge by now that the former hardware maker has agreed to publish a tentpole title from developers The Creative Assembly called Alien: Isolation. You get three guesses as to what the inspiration was.

    The fourth-quarter release has reached the playable build stage, so the game is all the rage in chat rooms and gaming news outlets. Considering I'm a diehard fiend about the franchise, it's no great leap to imagine my interest rates somewhere between unquenchable thirst and DEFCON 1....

    Apparently it only took science 15 years to develop handheld motion detectors that worked. Then they barely changed for another 42 years.