Michael Kruse, Times Staff Writer

Michael Kruse

Michael Kruse, winner of the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism and the American Society of News Editors' distinguished nondeadline writing award, is a staff writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times. His three-part series in 2013, The Last Voyage of the Bounty, won a Green Eyeshade Award and a Gold Medal from the Florida Society of News Editors and was a finalist for ASNE's Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling, and his story about a woman who disappeared inside her home was anthologized in Next Wave: America's New Generation of Great Literary Journalists. In 2012 he gave a TEDx talk on the importance of story. His work has been recognized, too, by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society for Features Journalism, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Headliner Awards and the Magazine Association of the Southeast, and in categories ranging from sports explanatory to business reporting, from short features to long profiles. Before the Times, he worked at the Times Herald-Record in New York's Hudson Valley, where he covered two towns and Major League Baseball and was the paper's writer at large. He is the author of Taking the Shot: The Davidson Basketball Moment and has written for Grantland, ESPN.com, Yahoo! Sports and Outside, Our State, Charlotte, Parade and Men's Health magazines, and Harvard's Nieman Storyboard. Kruse, 36, was born outside Los Angeles and raised outside Boston and is a graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina. He lives in St. Petersburg with his family.

Phone: (727) 893-8751

Email: mkruse@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MichaelKruse

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  1. Publix and Walmart are going at it in Florida

    Blog

    Ten things I learned in the story in the August Florida Trend about the grocery war they're waging:

    1. Walmart, based of course in Bentonville, Ark., has 317 stores in Florida.

    2. Publix, based of course in Lakeland, has 753 stories in Florida.

    3. Walmart employs 97,222 full- and part-time workers in Florida....

  2. Something else Rick Bragg wrote about grouper sandwiches

    Blog

    Remember the other day when I posted what Bragg wrote in the new Garden & Gun about the time he ate his first grouper sandwich in Clearwater? Here's another portion of the piece:

    I was still a young man when I arrived in Miami the first time, almost a quarter century ago, to write about one of the most compelling places on earth. I have never liked mornings, but there was something about the morning light in Miami, something golden. I would get in my '69 Firebird convertible and rumble out to Key Biscayne, to a cool, dark bar at the Silver Sands motel. I would order a grouper sandwich for my 11:30 breakfast, and watch the European mermaids play in the calm, flat water. I remember the grouper inside the bun was good, fresh, real, and delicious, every time. It was Florida. I thought, in that cool dark, I had the best life a man could live, right then, right there. I know, I have buffed this memory. I know, nostalgia is a veil, a piece of colored glass. I know. But I had a fried grouper sandwich and onion rings for breakfast. Other people were staring at shredded wheat, and hoping to live forever. But I bet forever is a long time with shredded wheat....

  3. Ben Montgomery comes to the defense of a downtrodden park in Tampa

    Blog

    You could read it in Floridian in Sunday's paper or you could read it now:

    TAMPA — This past Christmas we bought for my middle child something called a Spooner Board, which is marketed as a toy for gifted children but is really just a sort of a curved plastic skateboard without wheels. She dragged it to the front yard and tried to scoot around, and was bored in about two minutes....

    Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.
  4. Katie Mettler on 'one of life's enduring mysteries'

    Blog

    Set for Floridian in Sunday's Times:

    Mark Spence was watching the storm approach when he saw it crawling along 57th Street S.

    A foot and a half wide and growing, the black mass collected earthy matter and picked up speed as it rolled by....

  5. Summer intern Kathryn Varn saw a scene and stopped

    Blog

    A reporter driving home from work in a thunderstorm passes four motorcyclists huddled under a highway overpass. She wonders what they're doing out in this weather, so she pulls over. The short answer? They're debating — risk, freedom and the best place for dinner. The usual. Click....

  6. The latest Dispatches: Burn survivor's words are the balm that soothe

    Blog

    Set for Floridian in Sunday's Times from award-winner John Woodrow Cox:

    TAMPA — "Joe Versaggi," he said, lightly bumping fists with the young man in the hospital bed. "Burn survivor."...

    Joe Versaggi.
  7. Sunshine

    Blog

    Friday already? Seven and then some.

    1. Susan Thurston in this morning's Times: Florida's back-to-school sales tax holiday starts Friday and runs through Sunday with savings on more items this year. The Midwest director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in this morning's letters to the editor: Sales tax holidays like the one in Florida this weekend are poorly targeted, costly and represent a lost opportunity to get tax fairness right....

  8. 7 things I learned in the new Florida Trend about the South Florida Walmart that's the busiest Walmart in the world

    Blog

    I mentioned in yesterday's Sunshine that I was looking forward to reading this story when I got the August issue. I got it.

    1. This Walmart in Doral is 233,258 square feet.

    2. A typical day: 13,000 to 14,000 customers.

    3. Black Friday? Some 32,000 customers.

    4. The store has 800 employees, full- and part-time, representing 73 nationalities....

  9. Florida, says Slate, is the most savage state, hell on earth

    Blog

    Mark Joseph Stern:

    Earlier this year, a Lake Worth, Florida, resident left his loaded gun sitting out on a table by the front door while he dressed for work. He heard a loud noise and ran into the hallway, where he discovered his daughter lying in a pool of blood with a bullet hole through her head. She was 3 years old. After her death from the accidental, self-inflicted gunshot, a neighbor told reporters he was stunned, claiming: "This kind of stuff doesn't happen here."...

  10. Sunshine

    Blog

    Quick quick today, okay?

    1. The taxi cabs here might not be the newest, swankiest ones on Earth. But are they really the "deplorable, embarrassing" pigsties that one critic alleges?

    Hotel developer Lou Plasencia blasted the city's taxi industry during a recent meeting of the Hillsborough County Hotel Motel Association. Tampa cabs, which also go to St. Petersburg and Clearwater, give visitors a bad impression of the area, he complained....

  11. Former Times journalist Brendan Watson makes a good point in today's letters to the editor

    Blog

    The Times article stated, "The gun accidentally fired and shot Katherine Hoover in the head, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office." Beyond the poor use of the passive voice, this sentence represents a common mistake in news coverage of accidental shootings: Guns do not mysteriously fire themselves. They do not have the agency to be responsible for killing someone. Accidentally or not, a person fired that gun. Click....

  12. Rick Bragg on his first grouper sandwich

    Blog

    Requiem for a Fish Sandwich? By Rick Bragg? In Garden & Gun? Yes please. I don't think it's online yet, or at least I haven't been able to find it, so I'll just go ahead and type up one of my favorite parts:

    I will never forget my first. It was more than twenty years ago. I arrived in Clearwater, Florida, dead broke, except for rent money and some change in a pickle jar. I came to write for the Clearwater bureau of what was then the St. Petersburg Times, one of the great newspapers. I have always had a fascination with palm trees. The Gulf Coast seemed exotic, and still does; I don't care how many snowbirds cross my path in black socks and Bermuda shorts. But by the time I paid for a concrete-block, one-bedroom apartment, I did not have money for furniture, or food. I lived three weeks on banana sandwiches, washing them down with cold water from plastic jugs my mother filled before I left home. Florida water, she knew, was not fit for drinking or even putting out a brush fire. I read a paperback copy of Lonesome Dove, twice, on a bare terrazzo floor, and I listened to my stomach gurgle. After my first paycheck, reporters invited me to lunch for a grouper sandwich. The only fish sandwich I had ever had came in a sack with an action figure called a Hamburglar. My expectations were not high, but I was hungry....

  13. Sunshine

    Blog

    Sorry for the delay. Lots going on. It's Wednesday, right?

    1. Consumer confidence among Floridians rose two points in July to 84, hitting another post-recession high for a second consecutive month, according to a new University of Florida survey.

    "While an index of 84 is not historically high, it does reflect far more optimism than we have seen over the past year," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research....

  14. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight says Charlie Crist and Rick Scott could make history by being so unpopular

    Blog

    Just passing this along:

    While the national political scene has decayed into polarized stagnation, Americans' views of state governments have remained mostly positive. That's probably part of the reason why governors seem to have an advantage when running for president. Yet in Florida, home to one of the nation's marquee gubernatorial races, Democrat Charlie Crist and Republican incumbent Rick Scott are teetering on becoming the least-liked pair of candidates for any governor's race in the past 10 years....

  15. Sunshine

    Blog

    It's Tuesday and here are some things.

    1. ... 88 percent of Florida voters now would allow use of marijuana for medical purposes — broad support that cuts across age, gender and political lines. That is up from 82 percent support that Quinnipiac reported in November. About 55 percent of Floridians would legalize marijuana for recreational use, the poll reported — up 7 percent from November. Click....