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Malena Carollo - Utilities, Consumer Issues, Cybersecurity and Insurance Reporter

Utilities, Consumer Issues, Cybersecurity and Insurance Reporter

I'm passionate about writing stories that expose broken systems and wrongdoing. My work brought to light an auto lender taking advantage of Floridians, highlighted burgeoning neighborhood surveillance and prompted an investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office. Help me learn what's going on in your part of Tampa Bay. Contact me more securely on Signal at (813) 591-0688. I earned my master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where I studied investigative and data reporting and practical digital security. Before the Times, I covered cybersecurity for the Christian Science Monitor’s Passcode section.

  1. ByDesign Technologies, a Tampa-based company that provides business management tools for direct sellers, was acquired by Kansas firm Retail Success this week. Pictured is the Tampa skyline in 2019. [Times (2019)]
  2. The University of South Florida appointed J. Michael McConnell as executive director of Cyber Florida this week. [Courtesy of University of South Florida]
  3. A dozen Florida law enforcement agencies have tried out or bought access to the facial recognition system from a little-known company called Clearview AI.
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  5. California-based customer service company Alorica is hiring for 50 positions in its Tampa contact center. Pictured are the site's employees in 2018. [Courtesy of Alorica]
  6. State regulators gave the go-ahead for Duke Energy Florida to collect costs from hurricane and storm preparations in 2019. Pictured are Duke Energy line workers in 2017 after Hurricane Irma. [CHRIS URSO  |   Times (2017)]
  7. Organic grocery chain Earth Fare is shutting down. Pictured is an employees setting up the Earth Fare in Seminole before its opening in 2016. [Times (2016)]
  8. Tampa’s Rep. Kathy Castor is seeking to make it harder to track kids online. Pictured is Castor speaking with members of the Tampa Bay Times editorial board in October 2019. [Chris Urso | Times (2019)]
  9. Florida gas prices are trending downward after an unseasonal uptick. Pictured is the Courtney Campbell Causeway in 2009. [Times file photo]
  10. According to used car sales and market research site iSeeCars.com, the most popular car colors in Tampa Bay typically fall into the grayscale family. Pictured is traffic in St. Petersburg in 2017. [Times file]
  11. The Tampa Bay Times' headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg.
  12. Four Tampa Bay businesses made Fortune’s list of “Most Admired Companies” in the world for 2020. Pictured is a Publix location in the Channelside district last year. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times (2019)]
  13. After a spike last week, gas prices in the Sunshine State are down slightly. Pictured is the Courtney Campbell Causeway in 20098. [Times file]
  14. A big sea change in data privacy protection is ramping up in California, and many Florida businesses will soon feel its ripple effects. Pictured is a woman typing on a keyboard in October. [Jenny Kane| Associated Press]
  15. Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co., a Tampa insurance firm, has a preliminary agreement to acquire St. Petersburg's Anchor Property & Casualty Insurance Co. and all of its policies. Pictured is Paresh Patel, CEO of HCI Group, Homeowners Choice's parent company, in 2013.
  16. More than 50 people gathered on Bayshore Boulevard in remembrance of George Gage, who died when he was hit jogging. along Bayshore Boulevard and West Julia Street.
  17. A private agency that scores the financial health of insurance companies is planning on downgrading its ratings for nearly half of the 40 Florida property insurers it grades because of economic conditions following the heavy storm seasons since 2016. Pictured is damage from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. [Douglas R. Clifford | Times (2018)]
  18. Sports apparel giant Fanatics Inc. will move into Laser Spine Institute's former headquarters. Pictured is the building in March following the Laser Spine Institute's shutdown in March. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  19. Tampa Electric Co.'s "Lamb Cam" is back. Pictured are sheep in a still from a video last year courtesy of Tampa Electric. [Courtesy of Tampa Electric Co.]
  20. Florida tops list for U-Haul’s ‘fastest-growing’ states. Pictured is a U-Haul truck in Tampa Bay. | [Times file photo]
  21. As tensions with the Middle East grow, many consumers’ are eyeing the pump for signs of higher gas prices in the near future. Pictured is a man filling up in 2017 in Tampa Bay. | [Dirk Shadd, Times]
  22. Gas prices are uncharacteristically high for the season. Pictured is a woman pumps gas at a gas pump at a convenience store in Pittsburgh in September. [Gene J. Puskar | AP]
  23. CareerSource Tampa Bay is hosting a business and education summit at the end of February. Pictured is its office in Tampa in 2017. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  24. Storm expenses may push up Duke Energy Florida customer bills come March. Pictured are Duke Energy Florida workers after Hurricane Irma in 2017. | [Times file photo]