Florida Voices — The State Opinion Page
WHAT IT IS:
lorida Voices — the state opinion page — is your one-stop guide to what influential people are saying today, from Pensacola to the Florida Keys. Our facilitated roundtable engages interesting and informed people on the key questions facing Florida, seeking out differing perspectives with a watchful eye for common ground. And in cooperation with our newspaper customers, we provide a platform for Floridians — from the boardrooms to the bar rooms — to get their issues on the public agenda. You know the news. Now let’s talk.
ABOUT OUR BUSINESS:
lorida Voices is a new-media company at the intersection of opinion journalism, public affairs and government. We are rooted in the values of journalism; founded and staffed mostly by former newspaper people. We are members of the Florida Press Association.
Online, we are an opinion magazine focused on Florida. Occasionally, we expect to generate talk about national affairs, especially the presidential election. But mostly, we want to talk about issues closer to home. We will work to reflect the diversity of opinions in this great state, and challenge our leaders to solve real problems, however best.
Our customers are newspapers seeking informed commentary on Florida matters; public relations firms wanting to help clients engage the debate; advertisers hoping to reach a niche audience around public affairs; political and government leaders trying to communicate on an issue; people who do business around state government; and everyday citizens who want to better understand and be heard.
We put newspapers first for a reason. We expect to help amplify their voices and be a partner in holding government accountable. An untold story in the earthquake that’s rocked newspapers is the toll it’s taken on editorial boards. Many are a third their size from just a few years ago. Yet remaining editors and publishers are just as passionate about providing readers an interesting array of perspectives.
We plan to help.
We are a bootstrapping start-up, offered no government grants, incentives or subsidies.
We are women-owned.
And we are here to make a difference.
Who We Are:
Rich Bard is a keen observer of the issues facing Florida, having been an editor at The Miami Herald for 34 years. For 19 years, he edited the paper’s Sunday Viewpoint section, responsible for initiating and editing informed commentary from interesting people. During this time, he was named a Duke journalism fellow. He also was elected president of the Association of Opinion Page Editors at a conference that featured appearances by George Will and Sen. Ted Kennedy. Later, Rich became The Herald's national editor and deputy world editor, overseeing the paper's Washington and military affairs correspondents, and managing its Political Currents web pages. Rich shared in the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for the coverage of Elian Gonzalez.
Chief Curator and Archivist
For 25 years, Judy Grimsley was the chief librarian of The Orlando Sentinel, where she oversaw “the morgue’s” transition from a newspaper clippings service to a digital archive and research center. Judy knew keywords before keywords were cool, having helped develop the industry standards for electronic libraries. She was a founding member of the Florida News Librarians Association and an active member of Special Libraries Association, News Division. In 2001, she helped found NorthStar High School, the first charter high school in Orange County. More recently, she became a part-time registered Enrolled Agent with H&R Block. In her spare time, Judy loves to garden and dote on daughter, Jacquelynne, and granddaughter, Halie.
Rosemary Curtiss is President and Publisher of Florida Voices. Also a Tampa Tribune alum, Rosemary enjoyed a 23-year career with the company. She joined the advertising department in 1984, then graduated to leadership positions in advertising, business development and product development before serving a two-year assignment as a co-consultant on the re-engineering of the newspaper. As Regional General Manager of the Tribune’s Pasco County operations from 1997-2001, Rosemary led a successful, competitive turf battle, before being named Publisher of The Suncoast News, a Tampa Tribune affiliate, the position from which she retired in 2007. For the past four years, Rosemary and serial-entrepreneur husband, Wayne Curtiss, have worked together on their two businesses and co-founded a third in 2009. They are the parents of a 22-year-old daughter, a 17-year-old son and two spoiled dogs. Rosemary is a 1981 graduate of Penn State University.
John Bobowicz is the technology wizard behind the Florida Voices website. Better known as "Jbob,” he founded and runs Raptor Ink, an Internet marketing firm outside of Orlando. Jbob is a visionary with a keen interest in marketing and online community building. Early in his career, he worked at Sun Microsystems, where he founded java.net, the largest Java developer community. Later, he built data centers and led the Y2K effort at Merrill Lynch. More recently, as senior development director at EA Sports, he helped create video games, including Madden NFL, NCAA Football, Tiger Woods and NASCAR. Jbob is a native of New Jersey, a graduate of Upsala College and worked on the 32nd Floor of Tower 2 of the Word Trade Center until September 11, 2001.
Associate Editor/My Turn
Frank Bentayou began his media career at The Tampa Tribune in 1970 while attending graduate school in literature at the University of South Florida. In his 10 years at the paper, he covered the justice system, economic development and the state legislature and spent four years as a reporter and columnist focused on science, medicine and health, winning local, state and national journalism awards. In 1980, he became founding editor of Tampa Magazine, a regional monthly that, over three years of publication, won 25 Florida Magazine Association awards, including best large-circulation periodical in the state. He worked another five years as, first, managing editor then editor of Cleveland Magazine, in Ohio’s largest market. Bentayou left to take an administrative position in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent State University. His responsibilities included directing student media and teaching journalism courses. Bentayou earned an M.A. in journalism during his years at KSU. He also freelanced more than 200 articles for regional and national magazines and newspapers. He left KSU in 1989 to plan and launch a regional magazine, Inside Business, for Great Lakes Publishing Co., before accepting a position as an editor and then reporter and columnist at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. He covered housing, then religion and ethics and, finally, regional manufacturing. The Newhouse Religion Wire Service syndicated Bentayou’s ethics and religion columns. He retired in March 2010.