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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,, Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation Longform, and Outside, Our State, Charlotte, Parade and Men's Health magazines, and Harvard's Nieman Storyboard. Kruse, 37, 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


Twitter: @MichaelKruse

  1. Florida rancher's wish: a legacy of his land pristine forever

    Human Interest

    FORT PIERCE — Bud Adams, slim and dressed in blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt and cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, drove his Ford Explorer around his ranch in western St. Lucie County, looking at his land and his cattle. His truck, with manure caked in the tires, jounced in the ruts of rough paths. He's been the president of the Florida Cattlemen's Association. He's been named landowner of the year by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission. He's a member of the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. Now he showed his guests his bounty, pointing to heifers and calves, herons and hawks, egrets and turkeys, baby gators and boxes of bees, centuries-old hammocks of cypress, pine and palm. He stopped the truck. A hot breeze blew through Spanish moss. He plucked a fat grapefruit and knifed off its top and sucked on a juicy wedge....

    Bud Adams sits in his back yard at his ranch in Fort Pierce on a December day. He wears hearing aids. He has to have skin cancer spots removed from his face, the result of a life spent riding horses. He had a quadruple bypass a few years ago and gets short of breath. But he still works on his land. He loves his land. “I hate to leave it,” he says.
  2. Prayer carried students through the frantic moments after shooting started


    TALLAHASSEE — Student Jason Derfuss walked with books in his backpack out the front of Florida State University's Strozier Library just before 12:30 early Thursday morning and heard a shot behind him. He turned and watched a man with a gun five feet away fire twice more, straight and close into the torso of another person, who collapsed. Derfuss ran.

    Inside, on the first floor of the crowded building, a group of Delta Alpha Chi sorority sisters were sitting together and working on papers for classes about religion when they heard shots, too....

    Florida State University students attend a vigil on campus Thursday evening after a gunman wounded three FSU students inside Strozier Library. About 3,000 students attended the vigil, FSU police Chief David Perry said. Students cheered when the marching band played the familiar Seminole war chant.
  3. The plight of the Florida grasshopper sparrow


    Scientists are racing against time to save the Florida grasshopper sparrow, one of the most endangered birds in the United States, Margaret G. Zackowitz writes in this month's National Geographic.

    Says Audubon Florida: The Florida Grasshopper Sparrow is a federally endangered bird found nowhere else in the world. Despite public land managers' efforts to recover the bird its population continues to decline steeply on the very lands where it should be thriving. Without immediate intervention the outlook is dire for this diminutive Florida prairie specialist....

  4. What the Times' Craig Pittman wrote about Florida for Departures magazine


    One of my favorite paragraphs in the piece: One of the things I love about Florida is that it embraces so many contradictions. We call ourselves the Sunshine State, but many of our cities get more rainfall than Seattle. Our economy depends on attracting millions of tourists a year and yet our first state flag said, "Let Us Alone." And our state animal is a tawny-furred predator that numbers no more than 160 cats in the wild. There are thousands more Florida panthers on our license plates than there are actual panthers. But do read it all....

  5. Marc Caputo's 10 takeaways from Florida's 2014 elections


    Here's all of 'em. I'd say this one in particular:

    TV ads are still king in Florida. In the modern election world, there are any number of consultants and experts hawking the latest sophisticated research showing campaigns how to get an edge in social media or on-the-ground organizing. But the midterms showed that TV ads are still king. When Scott started his heavy TV advertising in March, Crist's favorable ratings started to nosedive in the polls. The Crist campaign's internal poll tracking showed Scott's last-week ad buys made a difference, too. Scott outspent Crist at least $70 million to $34 million on TV. So it ain't just what ya say in Florida that matters, it's what ya say in 30-second spots in the 10 major media markets that really counts....

  6. Everything about this story about snails


    Do read Craig Pittman's latest:

    MIAMI — At a little-known government laboratory in South Florida, they keep the snails under lock and key. Sure, any escape would be sloooooow. But giant African land snails are such a threat to humans that the rules say they have to be kept locked away, just in case....

    South Florida's stucco-sucking mollusks.
  7. Video: The corpse in the house in Cape Coral


    The Eleanor Rigby of SE 19th Lane. Heard from folks yesterday who said this reminded them of the story of Kathryn Norris. Cape Coral makes some sense too....

  8. Jitka Hyniova of Brooksville: big fan of Floridian


    Her letter to the editor in today's paper:

    If the Times keeps running stories like "Girl Falls for the Teacher," "This Is Bill" and "The Vasectomy King," I will consider canceling my New Yorker subscription....

  9. The Vice News assessment of our complicated state


    From earlier in the week:

    Florida is a geographic microcosm of America — in reverse.

    Its south, centered on the Miami area, is a bit like New York City: a diverse metropolis with large communities of Jews and African-Americans, Cubans, Dominicans, Haitians, and transplants from the five boroughs....

  10. People in Florida should read this


    John R. Gillis, professor emeritus of history at Rutgers, author of The Human Shore, on A19 of this morning's New York Times:

    To those of us who visit beaches only in summer, they seem as permanent a part of our natural heritage as the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes. But shore dwellers know differently. Beaches are the most transitory of landscapes, and sand beaches the most vulnerable of all. During big storms, especially in winter, they can simply vanish, only to magically reappear in time for the summer season....

    Indian Rocks after Tropical Storm Debby in 2012.
  11. Still your governor


    Five things I underlined in the main article on today's front:

    1. ... the second Republican since Reconstruction to win two terms as Florida governor.

    2. The squeaker conclusion to the country's most expensive race of 2014 ...

    3. Florida Democrats bet their future on a life-long Republican ......

    Last night at a fancy Hyatt in Bonita Springs.
  12. Have you voted yet?


    Numbed by all the attack ads, disheartened by lackluster choices, lots of people are in a mood not to vote. Bad idea, Carl Hiaasen wrote the other day in the Miami Herald.

    Go vote.

    "Washington is broken" is passive-voice bulls--t, Ezra Klein said this morning on Vox. Politicians in Washington do what they think will win them elections. If Washington is broken, then we voters bear some of the blame for breaking it — and everyone who is sitting back and complaining and not voting bears some of the blame for doing nothing to fix it....

    This morning in St. Pete.
  13. The health of the reefs in the Dry Tortugas is an exception among reefs in Florida


    "Perhaps the best thing we can do to protect the oceans is to take better care of the land. This is especially true in Florida, where continuing to invest in conservation and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems is essential for protecting freshwater and wildlife resources near our own back yards as well as the oceans to which they are all connected." Click....

    Dry Tortugas National Park.
  14. The Koch brother who lives in Palm Beach


    Times Washington bureau chief Alex Leary in Sunday's Floridian:

    "I'll let Mr. Koch know you're here," says the man at the door.

    Coffee or juice, he asks, then disappears. A small black orb protrudes from the ceiling — a security camera watching over artworks that would make a museum director drool: Monet, Picasso and Renoir. Sunlight animates an atrium in the distance, a statue of a nude woman rising from a pool....

    ... the yearning of a man who owns everything for something that doesn't come with a price tag.
  15. Jeff Klinkenberg's farewell piece in the Times


    You read it in Floridian in Sunday's paper?

    When I started at the Miami News in 1966, I remember that reporters typed their stories with two fingers on cheap paper. If they needed to move paragraphs around, they did so with scissors and glue. They impaled finished stories on metal spikes for a psychopathic editor who forbade talking until sunrise....