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Florida Matters: WUSF's Award-Winning Stories

FL AP Broadcasters

In recent months, journalism groups have been recognizing news outlets across the country for outstanding work done in 2017, and WUSF has garnered multiple awards.

This week on Florida Matters we highlight some of the award-winning journalism produced by our WUSF news team.

This year Florida Matters won a Society of Professional Journalists' Sunshine State award for Best Public Affairs Program. We were recognized for our episode "Foster Care in the Suncoast Region" that dove into some of the many challenges those who work in the industry face as they try to protect Florida's children---with limited resources.

We hear a segment from that show, as Florida Matters producer Stephanie Colombini tells us about the connection between the opioid crisis in Manatee and Sarasota Counties and the uptick in how many children were placed into foster care there last year.

Roberto Roldan and Steve Newborn were awarded second place in the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Awards Continuing Coverage category for their work reporting on the Seminole Heights murders and the impact they had on the community.

We hear a report by Roberto Roldan about how residents joined together after the suspect was arrested to help the neighborhood heal with some holiday spirit.  

Throughout last year you may have heard stories from WUSF's ongoing Art Populi series. In 2017 it was all about live, local music.

Reporters Daylina Miller and Stephanie Colombini earned second place in the Florida AP Broadcasters Awards for Best Series/Franchise Reporting.

Stephanie took us to a restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg that hosts a popular jazz jam every Monday night and introduced us to a quirky tribute band called the Florida Bjorkestra.

In this week's show we hear Daylina Miller take us on an unconventional history tour of"death metal" music, a genre that got its start in Tampa.  

We hear Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham's powerful story about the "Violins of Hope," restored instruments that belonged to Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

Her piece won a Regional Edward R. Murrow award, as well as a Green Eyeshade award, Sunshine State award, and Florida AP Broadcasters award for Feature Reporting.  

WUSF listeners are probably familiar with our weekly University Beat segment. University Beat reporter Mark Schreiner did a story about the University of South Florida women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez celebrating his 300th career win.

That piece won first place from the Florida AP Broadcasters for Sports Feature Reporting and a Second Place award from PRNDI.

Reporter Bobbie O'Brien was honored for her work as part of the national American Homefront collaborative. The story, "An Unknown Future for Military Caregivers of Post-9/11 Veterans" won Second Place in PRNDI's Nationally Edited News Feature Category.

Her story aired at local stations across the country as part of the collaborative led by WUNC in North Carolina. The piece also earned second place awards from the Florida AP Broadcasters and Society of Professional Journalists Florida chapter.

Hear some of the reporters behind these stories talk about how the pieces came together on our podcast Florida Matters More.


I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.
Robin Sussingham was Senior Editor at WUSF until September 2020.
Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.
Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
Roberto Roldan is a senior at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in mass communications and a minor in international studies.
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