Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott gave his State of the State address and in it discussed topics such as education, job creation, the housing market and entitlement programs. We spoke with University of South Florida professor and political analyst, Dr. Susan MacManus, about the current landscape of Florida politics ranging from legislation to the role of government, as well as some breaking news in Gainesville politics. Early Thursday morning the city of Gainesville’s current mayor and candidate in the upcoming runoff election, Craig Lowe, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. We aired an interview with his opponent, Ed Braddy, who has DUI charges on his own record and discussed the implications of such an incident with Dr. MacManus.
While many news publications and media outlets cutting back staff and losing subscribers to the promise that the same information could be found on the Internet, some small-town papers have taken a different approach to dealing with a slowly failing business model. We spoke with somebody who has been with the same weekly paper in North Central Florida for 42 years. Jim McGauley, the publisher and editor of the weekly Baker County Press, spoke with us about how community papers have evolved and continued to survive during this transition.
A little more than three years ago Haiti was hit with an earthquake that killed more than 200,000 of its citizens – leaving the world shocked, but eager to help. There have been an estimated 13,000 non-governmental organizations in Haiti since the earthquake and one of our producers, Leah Harding, recently spent a week there interviewing Haitians about the development over the last three years. She joined us in the studio along with Bertrhude Albert, co-founder and creator of a local group called Projects for Haiti. Together we discussed what Haiti looks like right now and the impact of recovery efforts focused on sustainability.
How has journalism changed and where is it heading? We discussed this topic with somebody who has watched and participated in its evolution – the new dean of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Diane McFarlin. We’re also introducing ourselves to you, the audience, with a little bit of history about the humble beginnings of WUFT and where we are heading with 89.1’s new completely student-run show, The Conversation.
Graduation requirements are changing for Florida high school students and they are focused more than ever on preparing students for higher education. We discussed these new graduation requirements with Jackie Johnson and Karen Clarke of the Alachua County School District and a man named Dave Edwards whose primary focus is preparing students for the work force who are not college bound. Are these curriculum changes a step in the right direction in preparing our youth for life after graduation?
A proposed Florida bill is aiming to clean up mugshots of the innocent from the Internet. The bill would require websites that publish mugshots to remove them within 15 days of the charges being cleared. We spoke with First Amendment expert Professor Clay Calvert about the implications of the bill and executive editor of the Gainesville Sun Douglas Ray about how the newspaper uses mugshots on its website and how they handle requests to remove them.
On Feb. 6, The Conversation hosted a couple of guests very close to the heart of Gainesville. Ken Block and Andrew Copeland of the platinum selling band Sister Hazel joined us in the studio for a one-hour special presentation to talk about their early days in Gainesville, their coffee shop, the Gainesville woman who inspired their band name and to play a few acoustic versions of their songs. The interview will be uploaded soon.