Founded by Tampa Tribune alumni Rosemary Goudreau and Rosemary Curtiss, the opinion magazine (FloridaVoices.com) also staffs former newspaper employees from around the state as associate editors and columnists. Their backgrounds include work at The Florida Times- Union, St. Petersburg Times, The Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, The Palm Beach Post, The New York Times, and The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.
Some of these writers were colleagues of Goudreau from her days as the editorial page editor with the Tampa Tribune. She said she wanted to showcase diversity in terms of geography, ethnicity, and ideology. As editor, Goudreau said, “I don’t expect to agree with them on everything. I edit them for style, not their point of view.”
The Florida Voices website features opinion content curated from various Florida newspapers, as well as original content from FV’s own columnists. There is also an online news forum and roundtable where experts discuss key topics. A recent roundtable featured Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s press secretary Lane Wright, as well as members of the State Senate and House of Representatives.
“I’m pleased with the caliber of participants,” Goudreau said. “What I learned from the editorial page is if important people are reading you, others will come.”
Florida Voices’ revenue stream is made up of advertising and syndication opportunities. According to Goudreau, 17 newspapers have signed up to receive the website’s original opinion content. The business also receives revenue from its professional services section — a directory of public affairs businesses.
Curtiss, who worked in advertising at the Tampa Tribune, serves as president and publisher. She said she is very encouraged by the feedback she has received from area businesses. From an advertising perspective, “they’re very excited.”
Interest in Florida will only grow as Tampa hosts the 2012 Republican National Convention in August. Curtiss called it “wonderful timing” for Florida Voices.
“The newspaper is an important partner,” she said. “As more papers see shrinking staff, they still need to provide good content.” And like a print newspaper’s editorial page, Curtiss said, “We let people hear all sides of an issue, and then they make up their own mind and choose their own position.”