Steve Newborn running WUSF News ... for now

Posted by Mitch Perry on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:32 PM

WUSFs Steve Newborn
  • WUSF's Steve Newborn
Late last month, Scott Finn — the news director at WUSF 89.7 FM since 2009 — left the Tampa NPR affiliate to return to West Virginia, where he's now the executive director of West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Longtime reporter Steve Newborn has replaced Finn in the interim.

This past Tuesday, Newborn covered a news conference about climate change that took place on the USF Tampa campus. He said it's the first time he's been able to get out and cover an event since his new position.

Newborn and longtime staffer Bobbie O'Brien are the only two general assignment reporters with WUSF 89.7 FM, even though there are more voices than ever reporting for the station.

Carol Gentry and Sarah Pusateri are part of Health News Florida, created in late 2006, and acquired by WUSF Public Media last September. Then there's John O'Connor with State Impact Florida, a joint NPR project on education news between WUSF and WLRN in Miami.

Newborn explained that these three positions are grant funded, meaning the reporters can only cover their respective issues. He called it the "new paradigm of journalism," and said that half of what he does now is manage "where the dollars go where they're needed."

Newborn is coming up on 12 years with the station, having begun in March of 2001 after an earlier stint with the Tampa Tribune. When asked if he might have an inclination to apply for the news director position, he said it's too soon to know.

"I tell people 'let me do it for a month.' I'm learning a lot. But this is the first time I've been able to cover anything," he told CL on Tuesday afternoon.

There's been a few news directors in the dozen years Newborn has been at the NPR station, including Rick Stone, Steve Malave, Finn, as well as long periods where nobody was at the helm.

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