Thank you for checking out The Seminole Source.
The Seminole Source is a local, independent, online news site dedicated to telling the story of Florida.
Why do we exist?
Florida is a large state with a diverse population and a range of cultures, opinions, and interests. The residents of Pensacola see things a lot different than those in Key West. People living near the I-4 corridor will have different interests than those in small counties. It’s as if Florida is its own melting pot with several states weaved into one.
It takes a diverse, comprehensive, fast-moving news site to cover it all, and we created The Seminole Source with that very challenge in mind.
What news will we report?
Although we won’t be chasing the daily news cycle, our coverage will be wide-ranging and comprehensive. Among the topics we will report on include:
- Politics – State, Counties, Legislature, Congress, Municipalities, Elections, Candidates.
- Government – State, Municipal, Fact-Checking, Campaign Finance, Policy Impact, Federal Agencies in Florida.
- Economics – Affordable Housing, Jobs, Income Inequality, Tax Issues.
- Civic Engagement – Voter Engagement, Civil Rights (Racial Injustice/Inequity), Women’s Issues, LGBTQ+ Issues, Social Entrepreneurship, Non-Profit Organizations, the Arts.
- Environment – Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Agriculture, Water, Built Environments, Bike Paths/Trails, Walkability, Offshore Drilling.
- Education – Public Policies/Trends, Research/Outcomes, Innovative Models, Funding Issues, Student Debt
- Health Care – Public Policies, Trends, Research, Regulations, Vulnerable Population, Consumer Costs, Medicaid, Medicare, Insurance, Universal Healthcare.
But in particular, politics.
For the past 20 years, Florida has been the most important battleground state for presidential elections. In that timespan, no candidate has won by more than 5%, and twice our state decided the outcome of the election. In Senate races, almost every outcome of the 21st century has been decided inside the margin of error, and of the 27 US House seats in Florida – Democrats hold 13 and Republicans 14.
It can’t get much closer.
And a state with such intriguing campaigns and elections deserves to have its political story told… not just once or twice a week, but every day, and up to the minute, and with the lightning-fast-speed of a digital platform.
The need for accuracy, objectivity, and transparency
Accurate, objective, and transparent reporting has always been essential to democracy. It’s vital to a community – like public safety, access to affordable healthcare and housing, clean air, and clear water.
Unfortunately these days, many find it difficult to put their trust in the media. Instead, they listen to unobjective, misleading, loud voices, and gravitate to those they agree with. Those same voices are then amplified by social media networks that seem to reward them for triggering outrage instead of insight or meaningful interaction.
The Seminole Source seeks to be part of the solution to this problem, to raise-up the voices of true experts, data-driven facts, and objective reporting so that our readers can make decisions based on truth.
The state of journalism
From our very beginnings as a nation, newspapers have played a key role in shaping American communities. Today, for residents in thousands of inner-city neighborhoods, suburbs, and rural towns, local newspapers, had been the prime, if not sole, source of credible and comprehensive news and information that affected the quality of their everyday lives. Yet, in the past 15 years, nearly one in five newspapers has disappeared, and countless others have become shells of themselves through massive staff cuts.
And Florida newspapers have not been immune to this nationwide trend. Since 2004, approximately one-third of the newspapers in Florida have closed their doors. Many others reduced print publications. The circulation of the remaining newspapers has dropped from 6.9 million in 2004 to 3.4 million in 2019.
To make matters even worse, almost all major daily Florida newspapers have come into the hands of national media outlets or hedge funds. As of 2019, 25 owners control over half the newspapers in the state. Staffing levels are less than half of what they were a decade ago. Weekly and smaller-market newspapers have taken an even bigger hit in the previous 15 years.
The Florida news deserts
Currently, there are six counties in Florida with no source of local news, and 15 with only one outlet. And in many cases, that is just a weekly newspaper more focused on advertising than covering news important to its readers.
These regions are called “news deserts”.
Both community and democracy suffer when journalism is lost or diminished. In this age of fake news and divisive politics, the fate of communities across the country and of democracy itself is linked to the vitality of local journalism.
It is because of these small communities and news deserts throughout Florida that The Seminole Source transitioned into a statewide news site. Yes, we want to tell the story of Florida and report on politics every day… but bringing news to small communities that otherwise have no outlet is one of our primary reasons to exist.
Thanks again for reading The Seminole Source. We hope you will continue reading, and give us a chance to become your go-to site for politics and news in Florida – and in your community.
Denise Connell is the publisher of The Seminole Source. With a BA in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Central Florida and an MA in Religious Studies from La Sierra University in California, Denise has served Florida residents since 1992 through organizational leadership, teaching, research and writing, motivational speaking, and life-design coaching. She has led and guided businesses, non-profit organizations, departments, teams, and individuals in finding their vision and creating a better world for themselves and others. Denise’s heart and focus in both work and personal pursuits have always been on inspiring change for a more passionate, purposeful, and difference-making kind of living. It is her hope that as the publisher of The Seminole Source she will be able to do the same. Denise is also the publisher of The Apopka Voice, an independent, online news site covering the city of Apopka, Florida.
Reggie Connell is the original founder, owner, and managing editor of The Seminole Source, who started his journalism career in 1981 with the St. Pete Times working the desk, as well as writing for the sports department. He attended the University of Florida and served as a journalist on two of the student newspapers there, The Independent Florida Alligator and The Student Leader. With additional experience in insurance and mortgage sales, Reggie soon bought and ran City Magazine in Altamonte Springs serving as publisher and managing editor there, while also writing and then publishing his first book in 2014, Falconland, an historical novel on the life of the 13th century King Frederick. While working on the sequel to Falconland, Reggie took on the managing editor role for The Apopka Voice in 2015, and a short two years later became its owner, continuing to be the managing editor and journalist through to present day, along with his writing and editing for The Seminole Source.
Delivering worthwhile news and accurate reporting is truly a community-wide effort. It takes a dedicated staff and a loyal readership working together to make it happen. We hope you will give The Seminole Source a good look, and join us as a partner in transforming the way news is delivered and acted upon. Your engagement, support, and participation says you believe that supporting trustworthy, independent, and difference-making news means a better community for all, and this is appreciated deeply.
We accept guest posts from time to time, publishing opinion pieces ranging from politics to religion, as well as product- or general-issue- based. The opinions expressed in these posts are not to be necessarily understood as shared nor endorsed by The Seminole Source simply because we have published it. We believe in providing a variety of points of views, encouraging the dialog and understanding it hopefully creates in the community.
We invite you to share your thoughts and concerns, ideas and celebrations, questions, and solutions with us through photos, social media interactions, comments, advertising, community participation, and support. We, in turn, hope to make you proud to have us as the main source for keeping you informed, engaged, and inspired, connecting you more with the community you love.
QUESTIONS & SUGGESTIONS
Questions about our news site or advertising? Suggestions or ideas? Want to join the team? Feel free to email or call us. We’d love to connect.