About Us

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, by inviting letters to the editor and op-ed articles and by soliciting readers’ photographs and videos in our unique “Snap” section.

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

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    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 nsmith@sunshinestatenews.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 

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 - Web Editor/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

 

 

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    Chris Moran - Copy Editor

British-born Chris Moran grew up and was educated in England. While privately trained to be a concert pianist from a very early age, her forte and college major was English. Pursuing an editing career seemed a natural. Initially freelancing as a teen, "to help buy my first car," she later joined J.I. Rodale & Co. Ltd., the British subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Rodale Press, located in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. There she served as international editor of Prevention magazine. An opening at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News, now part of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, brought her to the United States and to Florida where she became a U.S. citizen and lived and worked as editor on the newspapers' opinion pages for almost 18 years. Along the way, she won a number of headline-writing awards. Chris is a voracious reader, an avid gardener and above all, an animal lover.

When not working, I... devote a lot of time now to my cat who's 15, slightly dotty (senile), diabetic and deaf, and requires lots of TLC. Being black, he's still cheeky and stubborn, though -- but very lovable.
 
In a previous life, I must've been... a sailor, because in my formative years I had a sailor doll in uniform that I carried everywhere, and wanted to join the WRENS (Women's Royal Naval Service) years before I was old enough. Love to be on boats and have had dreams about climbing rigging.
 
My favorite thing about SSN is... keeping current with what's happening politically in Florida, having lived here for many years.
 
The strangest experience I've had in an interview/as a journalist was... Sorry, never had one; interviews have always been run-of-the-mill.
 
You'll find me cheering in the stands for... anyone who fights injustice, particularly on behalf of the innocents: children and animals.