The Morning Show with Preston Scott Talks About Launch of The Florida Capital Star with Managing Editor Steve Stewart

Steve Stewart, The Florida Capital Star


Live from Tuesday morning on The Morning Show with Preston Scott– host Scott welcome Managing Editor of The Florida Capital Star to the show to discuss the way in which this news outlet will differ from the legacy media offering facts for readers as in the days of old-time journalism.

Scott: And for those of you that are normally listening on Thursday, don’t let this throw you. It isn’t 7:05 in the morning. Don’t play the music. We’re not doing that. This is not Tallahassee Reports, but it is Steve Stewart.

Stewart: Yes, it is.

Scott: How are you?

Stewart: Good. So I saw a friend of mine last night and he says you don’t have got a big announcement? You’re not running for anything, are you? (Laughter) Those days are gone. I choose life to borrow from Sloth in The Ice Age.

Scott: Exactly. But you do have a pretty big announcement to make. And it’s something that I think is of interest to everybody in the listening audience that cares about the Sunshine State.

Stewart: There’s a continuation reports focused here locally. We started dabbling into some state stuff because we are in the state capital. Well, I was trying to figure out a way to continue to do some of the state stuff because there is I mean, with the landscape of the media now, the way it’s headed, there are opportunities.

Scott: You mean because it’s bad?

Stewart: Well, there’s a number of things. It’s bad, but there are technology challenges, there’s political bias. So anyway, there’s a lot of opportunities. Some people view it as the end of the world for their profession. Other people view it as an opportunity.

I was approached by a group that has started state websites, and they’re basically focusing on covering state news and then populating that website with national commentary and things of that nature. Well, I’m the managing editor for The Florida Capital Star which means that I get to sort of pick the day’s news coverage of what we’re looking at.

And also behind the scenes get to do some investigative stuff that we would publish every now and then. And the idea is this. There is an opportunity to do stories that rely on old-time journalism. Just the facts. It doesn’t have to be 1500 words of opinion and guessing what’s going to happen.

It’s 500 words of here are the facts, just like this gambling compact, which is very complicated. Taking it and just giving you the nuts and bolts of what you need to know. But and I can give you an example. And you say this often, just because people choose not to cover things doesn’t mean there’s not news.

And there’s the other idea of how you cover it. And just look at this voting bill that passed during the session. If you go and look at how it was covered statewide, they tell you what’s in the bill and then they get a list of Democrats calling it Jim Crow legislation and voter suppression.

We did a story that went back and looked at a grand jury recommendation from South Florida in 2012 because of vote by mail fraud. And this was again, a grand jury that came out with 10 recommendations. And if you go and look at those recommendations, three of those are the ones that are in this bill.

And so there’s not a story out there other than on the The Florida Capital Star that takes that and gives that as a reason why this legislation passed. So I think that’s important. And we are to the point now where when you go to a news outlet, you want to understand that they’re coming from either a Liberal or Conservative or a Moderate perspective. But what you need to do is read the story and let the facts do the talking. And then that opens up your mind.

Scott: Steve Stewart with me. Is it managing editor?

Stewart: Managing editor.

Scott: Managing editor. The website is the I have long argued that our segments with Steve Stewart of Tallahassee Reports on Tallahassee are instructive because oftentimes it teaches you what not to do in your local community.

But this is a very different thing. You’re talking about the third largest state in the nation and having an objective look at the news. And you gave us an example of one story, Steve. And the website, folks, is the That’s where you go. There are a lot of other stories like that.

Stewart: We’re posting three or four stories a day. Some of them, obviously, is taking things that happen and put them in bite-size chunks so you can comprehend them. Other stories, like we did a story on the Nikki Fried situation yesterday.

Nikki Fried is getting some of her issues that are starting to rise to the surface. And we’ve got a story on there that’s about 700 words that bring things together that have never brought to get been brought together in the general media, and they have been reluctant to criticize her or ask questions.

Well, that’s starting to change now because of the dynamics of the governor’s race that’s going to be coming up next year. And Charlie Crist is in. So he’s got his supporters in the media. So now they’re going to start outing some of the things they haven’t been discussing on Nikki Fried.

And just to give you an example, is True Leaf truly just bought Harvest Health. True Leaf is the big medical marijuana that’s come here in Florida. Guess who won’t stock in Harvest Health? Nikki Fried. So we’ll get that story up also. But it hasn’t been written anywhere.

We were the ones that broke the story about her owning stock in  Harvest Health. So this is the kind of journalism that you’re going to get here. And it’s stuff that’s covered other places with a different perspective and then some new things like that.

And it’s again, a lot of opportunities, but is also a very noisy environment with all the media. I think most people would agree that the print legacy media in Florida is overwhelmingly biased against Conservatives and Republicans.

And the thing is that’s disturbing about it is they do it in a factual way. It’s not just the commentary pages or the opinion pages. Just like the voter bill that we just talked about. When somebody says that the aspect of this voter bill is Jim Crow tactics, well, then the question would be, well, exactly which tactics are they? And do you disagree with the grand jury findings in 2012? That would be a follow-up question. It never happens.

Scott: Well, The New York Times is learning a very expensive lesson. The Supreme Court in New York said, no, your reporters are putting opinion in section columns or rather, articles that are news. You didn’t disclose it as an opinion. This site is giving us news content and separating opinion and pointing it out when there is opinion.

Stewart: Right. And the thing I would say is very few news organizations in Florida have covered both the Matt Gaetz and Joel Greenberg stories and Nikki Fried’s concerns. And we have. And so the point is, we’re going to give you the news.

We’re going to give you the facts no matter where it comes from. But it is again, Florida, as you had mentioned, is becoming ground zero with a governor who’s running for reelection and who probably has presidential ambitions with the former President Trump living here. A lot of people moving here.

Scott: Well, by golly, the governor of Michigan visited Gretchen Whitmer.

Stewart: Exactly. And I’m not just talking about people moving here from different states. We’re talking about big hitters’ money coming to Florida. So this is going to be ground zero. And I think this is great timing for our venture here.

Scott: What do you want people to do?

Stewart: All right. First of all, go check the site out. You can sign up for email alerts, which we’re going to start sending out when we get more people to sign up. Social media, like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. And I would visit the site and give us some feedback.

You can reach out. My contact information is there. But our goal is again, to stick to the journalistic principles and to break some news that you’re not going to see anywhere else.

Scott: Follow the data, follow the facts. Let them speak for themselves.

Stewart: Exactly.

Scott: Yeah, folks, it is Make it a regular stop as you check out the news of the day. Make that a place that you go routinely to gather your news. Steve, thanks as always.

Stewart: Thank you, Preston.

Scott: Steve Stewart Managing Editor of The Florida Capital Star. That is the website and our guest here on The Morning Show with Preston Scott.

Listen to the full show here:

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