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

  1. Rick Bragg on his first grouper sandwich


    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....

  2. Sunshine


    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....

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


    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....

  4. Sunshine


    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....

  5. What Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration is finding in the wreckage of the sunken S.S. Central America


    Spotted in today's New York Times:

    A treasure-laden ship that has lain silent on the Atlantic seabed for more than 150 years is giving up some of its secrets, as explorers who have revisited it for the first time in two decades detail in reports on their recovery operations. The sunken hulk, off South Carolina, has so far given up 45 gold bars, 47 pieces of gold jewelry, more than 2,000 gold coins and some 11,500 silver coins....

  6. The letter to the editor of the day comes from Buck Beasom of Tampa


    In this morning's paper:

    This article was disturbing, to say the least. Unfortunately, it was not even a bit surprising. It simply reinforces what any Floridian with any common sense already knows: Our state politicians are for sale to the highest bidder. They don't want to talk about this, and — in fact — don't think it is anybody's business. It's just business as usual. You pay us. We protect you. We should stop calling it a Legislature and start calling it what it is: a mafia....

  7. Sunshine


    It's Monday morning. Here are seven things.

    1. A man in Brooksville decided to show his gun to his friend, who was five months pregnant. The baby died, too. Click.

    2. The median starting salary for a lawyer in Florida is ... $45,000? Click....

  8. A little Friday afternoon Florida reading from Tim Dorsey


    The Florida Humanities Council staged a micro-fiction challenge. The task was to tell a Florida story in 250 words. And it had to start like this: "They named the gator ..." Here's what Dorsey wrote in the magazine called Forum:

    They named the gator Kwik Stop. That would be me. I'm famous now, but I don't know it because I can't read newspapers. I'm from Florida. This place is so freakin' weird, although nothing surprises me anymore. My new motto when stuff goes sideways: "Sure, why not?" Didn't used to be that way. Life started simple enough in the Loxahatchee Slough, paddling around like a submarine, sneaking up on yummy birds. The same thing day after day, a routine but content existence. Then the people moved in. One afternoon I was paddling again, but it was different. They called it a swimming pool. Wildlife guys caught me, and back in the swamp I went. Then I was sunning myself and this round white thing bonked me on the head. They called it a golf ball. The next morning I saw the strangest creature. It looked yummy but got away. They called it a poodle. People were mad. I had to split. Hey, it's not my fault. I'm staying in the same place; it's the people's houses that keep moving closer. Then I was snoozing and some fat guy in a trucker's hat grabbed me and took me to a convenience store to trade for beer. That's how I got my nickname in the papers. The clerk told the man they only took money, so he sighed and grabbed his wallet. now I'm lying in a trailer in a cardboard box watching COPS with some farting drunk dude. Sure, why not?...

  9. National Geographic liked the Times' Octavio Jones' picture of the recent sinkhole in Spring Hill


    Kathryn Varn was also there. Nearly 300 sinkholes have opened up in the Sunshine State since 2010 and thousands over the past century. The Florida Speleological Society has likened the state's geology to "Swiss cheese coated with soil."...

    The other day in Hernando County.
  10. Learning about our particular brand of lobster


    Nine things I underlined in what Terry Tomalin put in this morning's sports section:

    1. "The problem is that lobsters are notoriously hard to count," said Tom Matthews, who works in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's field office in Marathon. "If you took all of the lobsters and put them in one room, they would all gather together in one corner."...

  11. On the inevitability of marriage equality in Florida


    Here yesterday: Because this is the biggest issue facing Florida and America right now? From the Times' editorial page today: Jolly recognizes the difference between religious beliefs and government-sanctioned discrimination. He probably also sees that the courts, public opinion and the political winds are trending toward tolerance, fairness and legally recognizing same-sex marriages. Rubio, Scott and Bondi have yet to see the light. It will be up to the courts and the voters to help them along....

  12. Sunshine


    Friday. Seven and then some.

    1. I can't find this anywhere here on tampabay.com, but I definitely underlined the following paragraph in today's paper: Peacocks are once again rampaging through the northern part of Pinellas Park, prompting officials to hire a trapper to remove the birds. City officials earlier this month hired Vernon Yates' Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation to trap, tranquilize and remove "nuisance peacocks" in the area around Helen Howarth Park. Background. On the topic of rampaging birds....

    This is Gerald McCoy. He plays for the Bucs. He showed up for the first day of practice in his robe.
  13. Rick Scott, All Aboard Florida, the Sabal Trail Transmission, and linking the personal to the political


    Time's Michael Grunwald:

    The Florida governor has been questioned about his investment in a natural gas company and his aide's involvement in a rail project.

    A few months ago, I wrote about an epidemic of fake Republican scandals that Democrats were hyping for 2014, starting with a nothingburger of a whatever-gate involving Florida Governor Rick Scott. My point was that political scandals rarely get traction, and shouldn't get traction, without a semi-plausible link to significant public policies. Let me put it a different way: Damaging scandals look more like the two latest messes involving Governor Scott....

    Rick Scott.
  14. John Romano on Dunedin Elementary and school grades and what's really the problem


    In his column today, which you should read, here are the three most important points he makes:

    1. One small problem with school grades: They're a sham....

  15. Because this is the biggest issue facing Florida and America right now?


    You saw this on 1A of today's Times?

    What Marco Rubio says: "Those who support same-sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislatures to change state laws. But Americans like myself who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing that overturned by a judge. ... I will be attacked as a hater, a bigot or someone who is anti-gay. This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage. And if support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election."...