Introducing The Florida Phoenix

Welcome to the debut of a new media voice in the state capital – The Florida Phoenix. Our slogan, quality journalism for critical times, could not be more apropos this week, as we mourn the loss of five journalists senselessly gunned down in their Maryland newsroom – including Rob Hiaasen, a member of a fine Florida journalism family that has been informing the public for decades. Please take a moment to read the poignant column by our news colleague Josh Kurtz, editor of another independent news site called Maryland Matters.

These are critical times, and journalistic inquiry is vital for the citizenry. We find ourselves enduring the Nixonian ramblings of a paranoid and angry president who openly calls our free press an “enemy of the people.” We watch as hedge-fund billionaires buy our newspapers and eviscerate them, laying off thousands of workers and leaving communities without watchdogs. You can read more about the changes in the media industry in our column by Florida news legend, Pulitzer Prize winner and Florida Women’s Hall of Fame member Lucy Morgan in the Phoenix.

The Florida Phoenix is part of a new wave of nonprofit news organizations around the U.S. We are funded by foundations and small donors, and our content is free to readers. Instead of the old model of a publisher in a downtown office with a giant press running sheets of newsprint, The Florida Phoenix is published by people like you, who read and share our content with others via social media.

We will have a mix of in-depth stories, daily blog posts and social media updates on the latest events, editorial cartoons, and progressive commentary. Reporters in many now-shrunken capital bureaus have to spend most of their time these days chasing around after more and more outrageous political behavior, and too many don’t have time to lift up emerging innovative ideas or report on the people who are trying to help solve problems and shift policy for a more compassionate world. The Florida Phoenix plans to do those stories.

We have a staff of remarkable journalists to dig into news you need to know from our office in Tallahassee:

Editor-in- Chief Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida for more than 30 years. She is a former capital 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, Between Two Rivers and UnspOILed. 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 had bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.

How can you keep up with The Phoenix?

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Have a news tip? Contact us at [email protected]

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 is Drawn to The Deep, a University Press of Florida biography of Florida cave diver and National Geographic explorer Wes Skiles.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds great! I am happy to have subscribed, and looking forward to reading. I’m up to my neck in the fight to stop phosphate mining in west-central Florida, which many consider to be the worst environmental problem in Florida, with chilling human health ramifications, and I hope you will follow this fight.

  2. An excellent team of journalists, ready to tackle real issues that desperately need to be brought into the public spotlight! Welcome to the world, Florida Phoenix — now give ’em hell!

  3. Looking forward to reading more news articles/stories. Since mental health concerns are of great importance in several recent events, might there be some regularly written stories on this topic?

  4. Of the Phoenix, Hauserman writes, “We are funded by foundations and small donors.” These funding sources are not named (at least nowhere I can find).

    Meanwhile, Neil Brown, former editor of the Tampa Bay Times, indicates that news organizations must be transparent — it has to be clear who is writing and publishing the news (according to Lucy Morgan’s guest column).

    We know who’s writing and editing the Phoenix, since that much has been announced. However, I’m unable to learn the identities of these “foundations and small donors” mentioned by Hauserman. After all, whoever is funding the effort is, to a large extent, the publisher.

    So much for Brown’s transparency.

    Lucy Morgan wrote: “In some cases, the owners of news organizations are not publicly known, leaving everyone to read their tea leaves and guess. Is it Big Sugar? Gambling? Utility companies? The backers of individual candidates? Or could it be environmentalists, advocates for children or some other worthy cause? It’s tough for readers to figure out…”

    Who is funding the Phoenix, and why isn’t the Phoenix being transparent about it?

  5. This is the most exciting news that I’ve seen in a long time! What a great team that you have put together!! I know Mitch Perry and already miss him deeply in the Tampa Bay region, but it is great to find out what he is now up to. Keeping an eye on the Pols in Tallahassee, I feel a lot better knowing that you all are there!

  6. Who is funding…MORE transparency before I trust.
    Sorry…I’m old, and have heard much.
    Accurate news, and not political opinion.

    • Don,

      Not sure what makes you think I’m not the target audience. Are people who seek transparency excluded from the target audience?

      In any event, your reply is beside the point. The Phoenix touts Lucy Morgan’s call for transparency in journalism, then decides not to be transparent.

      There’s something wrong with that picture.

  7. Being a non-practicing journalist and a progressive, I must receive authentic news! Thank goodness some journalists like yourselves care about reporting legitimate news, which is hard to find these days.

    Fly high, Phoenix!

    Barbara

  8. What a kicker ! Kudos to y’all for giving it right back to the conglomerations that swallow journalistic enterprises and rob we the people of the right to know. JULIE HAUSERMAN – Did you ever work with Greg Enns or Judith Collins at the St. Pete Times? I freelance for Greg (Indian River Magazine) and Judith was my editor; she has gone on to greater passions, probably tripping around Virginia on her Vespa. Thanks to you and your team for a remarkable product. This is so well done and very much appreciated. May God bless all you do.

  9. I enjoy a fresh breath of air. I am hoping the Poynter Institute is helping fund. But regardless, tell the truth and I will stay! Thank you, Cynthia Sweeney

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