Today we welcome The Florida Phoenix, a new news outlet dedicated to covering Florida state government and politics with four aggressive, top-tier veteran reporters. The progressive-leaning site will feature in-depth news stories, a blog, political cartoons, guest columns, social media updates on the latest happenings, and commentary.
Included on the site's debut is a report on Clemency Board member Jimmy Patronis, Florida's CFO, asking a black man seeking to regain his civil right how many children children he has and with how many mothers. Another examines how easy it is to pass Florida's algebra 1 exam.
Based out of the Florida Press Center, the Phoenix is funded in large part by the New Venture Fund, a charitable non-profit that supports a range of public interest projects including filling the gaps in state government news coverage created by budget cuts at traditional media outlets.
"So much of what affects people in their daily lives happens at the state level, so having watchdog reporters covering state government and politics is critical to a functioning democracy," said Florida Phoenix Editor-in-Chief Julie Hauserman, a Tampa Bay Times alum. "There's a lot of wrong-headed policies and influence peddling that goes on and needs to be exposed. That's our job."
Here are the staff bios provided by The Phoenix:
Editor-in- Chief Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida for more than 30 years. She is a former Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times, and reported for The Stuart News and the Tallahassee Democrat. She was a national commentator for National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday and The Splendid Table. She has won many awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is featured in several Florida anthologies, including The Wild Heart of Florida, The Book of the Everglades, and Between Two Rivers. Her new book – Drawn to The Deep, a University Press of Florida biography of Florida cave diver and National Geographic explorer Wes Skiles – comes out this fall.
Deputy Editor Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.
Reporter Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.
Reporter CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.