WJCT by Tom Flanigan
July 9, 2018
There is a newly-launched online news service covering state government in Tallahassee. The Florida Phoenix is the latest addition to a growing list of exclusively online news operations.
Much has been made in recent years about the hard times facing most print, and even some broadcast news media. So one day I wandered into the Florida Press Center a few blocks from the state capitol to see what news organizations were left.
(sound of stairwell door opening) “On the second floor of the once-bustling Florida Press Center in Tallahassee, here are some of the names outside now-empty offices: Halifax Media, Politico, a few steps further on, we see the Palm Beach Post, here’s the Florida Press, Bay News 9 and News 13, and a Blue Lotus Counseling and Holistic Wellness Center.” (Reporter’s note: Most of those organizations are by no means out-of-business entirely, but have simply moved elsewhere. Politico for instance is now on the Center’s ground floor. But there has been a steady exodus of news-gathering organizations from the Press Center in recent years.)
Down on the Center’s first floor, there are a few occupied offices. I-Heart Media’s Rick Flagg, is in one. And right next door where the First Amendment Foundation used to be is a brand new tenant: The Florida Phoenix news service headed by Julie Hauserman. She used to report state capitol news for the then-St. Petersburg Times, Stuart News and Tallahassee Democrat. But she said she’s out of the print game for good.
“Because of the Internet, it’s just shifted everything. And so newspapers and the traditional media models…I think they clung to the old distribution model a little too long. And we can see that in hindsight, but maybe they couldn’t see that when it was happening.”
So Hauserman said the new Florida Phoenix joins a growing group of exclusively online news content providers.