The Sunshine Way
Sunshine State News was born from a desire to cover a side of issues and stories that was absent in the news landscape, to fill the vacuum.
At Sunshine State News, we believe this is the right time to focus on the inextricable relationship between politics and business in Florida and how it affects the success of our state. To that end, we strive to cut through the jargon and speak in a fresh, no-nonsense way to an audience of lawmakers, lobbyists and strategists, to Florida’s job creators and economy protectors, in fact to all Floridians who expect their leaders to make common-sense decisions and set lofty, yet attainable, goals.
Sunshine State News fills a void – and that is our principal reason for being. We are the only news organization in Florida with an editorial board that believes free-market, less-government solutions will prove successful in addressing the problems challenging our state. Our news stories deal with facts, but we are more than happy to espouse our opinion in columns. We make it our job to tell the side of the stories that other outlets choose to ignore. We cover news statewide, putting the right amount of emphasis on untold stories and up-to-the-minute blogs, the ones that illuminate a rapidly changing economy, the clash of ideas and relationships at the state Capitol and political strategies playing out in all corners of Tallahassee and beyond. We aim to present our stories in a bright, attractive, reader-friendly package. And, we strive to avoid the stuffy conventions of traditional newspaper storytelling, instead writing compellingly in everyday language, using as much wit, personality and insight as we can muster.
Sunshine State News welcomes reader participation. In fact, we encourage it by calling for comments on each story and blog and by inviting letters to the editor and op-ed articles. Sunshine State News is always evolving, always adding features, looking for ways to make ourselves not just content, but a community for Floridians who care deeply about how and what our leaders are doing to improve our lives. Join our conversation on Twitter: @SSNAlerts
Meet Our Team
Nancy Smith - Executive Editor
A Connecticut native, Nancy Smith began her journalism career at The Daily Mirror and The Observer newspapers, both in London, England. She served as city editor, managing editor and associate editor at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News for 28 years, retiring from Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers in 2005. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in 1993-1994. More impressive than her wall of awards, she found a way to be stepmother to seven children and still write one of the most compelling and controversial columns on the Treasure Coast. She brought her long-suffering husband Mick and the children back from England in 1974. "Some people go to London and bring back an ashtray," she says. "I came home with something a whole lot better." Contact Nancy Smith at email@example.com or (228) 282-2423.
When not working, I... play blackjack, find any kind of live sports on television, or work on my novel and pretend people will actually read it.
In a previous life, I must've been... a cabaret singer, a suffragette or a criminal.
My favorite thing about SSN is... I have the freedom to say what I want to people who frame/decide policy for the greatest state in the U.S.
The strangest experience I've had in an interview/as a journalist... in England in my 20s, I walked into a room for my interview, the editor helped me off with my coat and my dress was unzipped clear down the back.
You'll find me cheering in the stands for... women and animals above all; then the Patriots, Red Sox, Braves, Arsenal, the Williams sisters -- and yes, even Tiger.
Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyLBSmith
Ed Dean - Senior Editor
As the top-rated radio show host focusing on Florida, Dean is no stranger to the Sunshine State’s politics. Dean is a regular financial and political commentator on Newsmax TV and a contributor to Fox News 35 in Orlando. In addition, he is a senior media analyst for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a Washington D.C. taxpayers advocacy group. Dean’s work has appeared in the Space Coast Daily and Sunshine State News. Before that, he covered politics for Straight Talk, the Brevard Reporter and WMEL Radio where he won awards for his coverage of the 2004 hurricane season. With his uncle John Buckley, a former Reagan consultant, Dean helped run BTV, a media and polling firm. In 2010, Dean was the featured MC for the “Spending Revolt” bus tour of Florida launched by Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Dean has also worked as a media consultant to politicians, campaigns and businesses groups at the state and national levels and sits on the media advisory board for the American Media Institute. Dean is the owner of the Florida Radio Network. The Ed Dean Radio Show is featured Monday through Friday, 6 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. around the state. Dean is a native Floridian, born on the east coast in Melbourne.
When not working, I... Spend time golfing & fishing.
In a previous life, I must've been... Calvin Coolidge.
My favorite thing about SSN is... Up to date breaking news and the credibility and reputation the publication has.
The strangest experience I've had in an interview/as a journalist... There are so many, but one that comes quick to my mind was just a few years ago. In 2011, I was interviewing America's most popular Sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County Arizona. He was speaking at an event in Orlando Florida where I was the emcee. On stage, I was conducting a interview with the Sheriff. Earlier, we had gotten word to be prepared for protesters outside the building. But instead of protesting outside, they disguised themselves as paid audience members and sneaked in the auditorium. And of course, they decided to wait till my interview was being conducted; they proceeded to protest, yell and toss verbal profanity at the sheriff. Security jumped in, things started to get physical and I thought World War 3 was starting to break out. But quickly, things calmed down.
You'll find me cheering in the stands for... Florida State Seminoles football team and Florida Gators basketball Team.
Follow Ed on Twitter: @eddeanradio
Kevin Derby - Senior Political Reporter
Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby studied history at Trinity College and did his MA in liberal studies at Excelsior College, doing his senior thesis and master’s thesis on nineteenth century American politics and culture. Kevin worked a decade in higher education administration and has worked for the Sayfie Media Group as an articles editor, the Center for the Community Interest on crime and quality of life issues and for the Florida Chamber of Commerce in communications. During Orrin Hatch’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, Kevin served as his state chairman in New York.
When not working, I... spend a good time reading.
My favorite thing about SSN is... being able to cover politics across Florida.
The strangest experience I've had in an interview/as a journalist was... covering Herman Cain whose family lived two doors down from me when I was in third grade.
You'll find me cheering in the stands for... the Jacksonville Jaguars and Trinity College Bantams.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN
Allison Nielsen - Reporter
A native Floridian, Allison Nielsen hails from West Palm Beach, Florida where she studied in the Communications Department at Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. School of the Arts. Allison got her first taste of journalism in high school, where she worked on the school's yearbook. She attended Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland and Florida Atlantic University where she received a BA in Political Science and Social Science. While at FAU, she wrote for the student newspaper, the University Press, covering crime across campus.
When not working, I... am usually running in the beautiful Florida weather, going to the gym, or finding new recipes to cook.
In a previous life, I must've been... a Golden Retriever.
My favorite thing about SSN is... the opportunity to cover the always fascinating and ever entertaining world that is Florida politics.
The strangest experience I've had in an interview/as a journalist was... getting asked if I was working for my high school paper by an event attendee.
You'll find me cheering in the stands for... the Miami Heat and the Miami Marlins.
Follow Allison on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen
Caitlin Dreher - Copy and Web Editor
A native Floridian, Caitlin Dreher attended the University of Florida where she studied Political Science and Spanish Linguistics. Since graduating Caitlin has consulted for politicalcampaigns and public affairs firms in the state.
When not working, I... lift weights at the gym, volunteer, and consume large amounts of literature
In a previous life, I must've been... Jeanne d'Arc
My favorite thing about SSN is... staying up to date on what's happening in politics
You'll find me cheering in the stands for... Gator Football the Tampa Bay Lightning