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 SB Nation Longform, 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. Lane DeGregory on a life-saving dog


    Today on 1A:

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first time it happened, Gerald Rittinger was driving to buy his gravestone. His diabetes was getting worse. Doctors had just diagnosed him with prostate cancer. They gave him six months. Gerald's wife, Jeanne, was in the passenger seat of their Lincoln that day. Their puppy, Zeke, was supposed to stay in the back seat. But the yellow Labrador kept putting his big paws on the console between them, inching forward. They headed north on Interstate 75 to his family cemetery in Kentucky. After about three hours, Zeke stood up and began barking. "Down! Zeke, get down!" Jeanne scolded, tugging at his collar. Zeke leapt up, nuzzling his wet nose against Gerald's neck. Licking his face. Laughing, Gerald tried to push away the puppy. But Zeke wouldn't back off. His barking got louder. The dog became so agitated that Gerald had to pull off the highway. Seconds later, Gerald had a seizure. "If he had still been driving," Jeanne said, "all of us would have been killed." That was 12 years ago. Gerald had his headstone engraved, planted it in the graveyard, then came home to die. But Zeke wouldn't let him. Keep reading....

  2. Your choice on Nov. 4


    Charlie Crist on Rick Scott: "I'm, like, the opposite of this guy."

  3. Six things I underlined in the Times' editorial about the University of Florida hiring Kent Fuchs from Cornell


    1. Fuchs (pronounced "fox") is taking a leap of faith in bringing his talents to a state and a system that too often undervalues and underfunds higher education.

    2. ... at a time when higher education is rapidly changing.

    3. A top 10 public university combines cutting-edge research with an educational system that produces the next generation of critical-thinking citizens, who know not only how to make a discovery but how to ask the right question. A solid grounding in the liberal arts plays a key role in creating those thoughtful leaders of tomorrow....

  4. This is a picture of Charlie Crist winning the election


    "Are we really going to debate about a fan? Or are we going to talk about education and the environment and the future of our state?" Charlie Crist asked last night down in Davie. "I mean, really."

    The fight over the fan, said this morning's lead editorial, is all anybody will remember....

    See that smile?
  5. Evidently, Florida is the strangest state in America, but at least Craig Pittman exists to explain it


    Seven things I liked in particular watching Craig's LipTV chat:

    1. "We've been a haven for hustlers for decades now. ... It's a legacy dating at least back to the 1910s, the 1920s, when we were selling swampland to the Yankees ..."

    2. "It's sort of the rootlessness that we have here in Florida. I mean, we are a state full of people who recently arrived, for the most part -- you know, 19 million people, and a lot of us just got here, and so there's no real sense of community in a lot of places. There's no sense of having anything at stake. And so it's easy to just focus on the surface of things, on the shallowness. I call it the Cinderella's Castle Syndrome -- you know, it's our most famous piece of architecture, Cinderella's Castle, and nobody lives there."...

  6. The frantic search for ways to stop the spread of lionfish


    As invaders they make the pythons in the Everglades look poky. They're unfussy about their habitat, they're potent reproducers, they eat just about everything, their stomachs can expand to 30 times the normal size, and they have no predators in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Not even sharks. But maybe the sharks can be ... taught to eat them?...

  7. 'It continues to stay with me,' Jeff Klinkenberg said this week


    The other day I asked Roy Peter Clark about some of his favorite stories by Jeff Klinkenberg. He mentioned Old Hitler. Chesty Morgan. He also mentioned the personal narrative on the death of a young friend on a golf course in Miami. It came up, too, when Jeff and I sat and talked. The piece ran in the Times, in Floridian, on a Wednesday in February of 1987, long enough ago where it doesn't come up with a Google search. I hadn't read it until just now. Here it is, a little more than 1,000 words:...

  8. The best Jeff Klinkenberg stories ever according to Craig Pittman


    This week is the last week of Klink's 37-year career here at the Times. I asked Craig to give me off the top of his head some of his favorites.

    1. Couple marry in swamp where love bloomed like rare orchid....

  9. Government REALLY doesn't create jobs in Florida


    From WGCU's Ashley Lopez:

    The state's population has grown by 4 million since 1998. Its budget has increased by $25 million since 2000. Yet Florida has almost 10,000 fewer established positions in the State's Personnel System, State University System, State Legislature, Courts System and Justice Administration combined, than it did 15 years ago....

  10. Listening to Jeff Klinkenberg


    This week is the last week of Jeff Klinkenberg's 37-year career here at the Times. He started working at this paper in February of 1977. Eight months before I was born. We sat and talked yesterday. Here are some of the things he said:

    1. My parents moved to Miami in 1951. I was two. My dad was a musician, a piano player, and he was really good. People come to Florida to start over. I think he thought that there were going to be more gigs down here. He gave it a shot for about four or five years until I had to be in school. But he loved the outdoors. So that was his gift to me. I have early memories of fishing when we lived in Key West. He had been on the high school swim team and we'd go to Haulover Beach in Miami and he'd do these one- and two-mile open-water swims and I'd hold onto the back of his trunks and I had a mask and a snorkel. It was like being in an aquarium. I can shut my eyes and see all those fish even now....

    The one and only.
  11. A new Dozier mystery


    From (of course) Ben Montgomery:

    PHILADELPHIA — Thomas Curry met his death by some railroad tracks near Chattahoochee in 1925, trying to run away from the Florida School for Boys. He'd served just 29 days for delinquency at the hellish reform school some 20 miles away in Marianna. The coroner who examined his body couldn't tell what killed him. "(C)ame to his death from a wound to the forehead, skull crushed from unknown cause," wrote Chattahoocheee coroner L.H. Sanders on the boy's death certificate....

  12. It's been a while since we got hit by a hurricane, the Washington Post points out


    Jason Samenow, the Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist:

    Florida has gone 3,270 days without a hurricane — nearly nine years and, by far, the longest stretch on record (the next longest streak is 5 seasons from 1980-1984, in records dating back to 1851). Meanwhile, the Sunshine State's population and development have boomed....

    Charley in 2004.
  13. The non-pretend part of the Magic Kingdom


    10 things I underlined in the Bloomberg story about poverty in Orlando Eve Edelheit sent my way this morning:

    1. It costs a family of five about $1,500 for a four-day pass to the theme parks at Disney World near Orlando, Florida. It takes Weston Vlier, who drives a bus there, four weeks to earn that much....

  14. It's your job as a person who lives here


    Former Gov. Bob Martinez in this morning's Times:

    November's election is right around the corner, but performing your civic duty and being a good, engaged citizen requires more than marking a ballot. While I encourage citizens to participate on Nov. 4, and to make an informed decision at the polls, for our government to operate effectively citizens must care beyond the outcome of an election....

    Next up: Nov. 4.
  15. 'There is only one way to save natural Florida ...'


    Read what Julie Hauserman wrote in the Tallahassee paper.