Michael LaForgia leaving Tampa Bay Times to join New York Times investigative reporting team - SaintPetersBlog

Michael LaForgia leaving Tampa Bay Times to join New York Times investigative reporting team

Another award-winning Tampa Bay Times reporter and editor is moving on.

On Thursday, the paper announced Michael LaForgia is heading to The New York Times to become part of its investigative reporting team.

The 33-year-old LaForgia has been the investigative editor for the Tampa Bay Times since August, and with the paper overall since 2012. He has been twice part of a team that won a Pulitzer for Local Reporting.

The first Pulitzer was in 2014, when LaForgia and Will Hobson won for exposing problems in a Hillsborough County homeless program. In 2016, he was part of the team that won for “Failure Factories,” the much-heralded series on Pinellas County’s neglect of five schools in predominantly black neighborhoods. LaForgia shared that award with colleagues Lisa Garner and Cara Fitzpatrick (who is married to LaForgia). The three reporters on Failure Factories also shared a George Polk Award, IRE Medal and the Worth Bingham Prize.

LaForgia is a South Carolina native who graduated from the University of South Carolina. He started at The Florida Times-Union and worked at The Palm Beach Post before joining the Times.

“I’m excited about the opportunity but sorry to leave the Tampa Bay Times. I was ready to spend the next several years here, but this opportunity found me — and it was too good to pass up,” LaForgia told SPB Thursday night. “I’m not at all worried about what my leaving might mean for the Tampa Bay Times. It’s a place that regularly takes good reporters and molds them into great reporters, and that process will continue no matter who comes or goes. I’m just grateful I got to work with the journalists here for as long as I did.”

The New York Times announced the hire Thursday. He will start with them April 3.

LaForgia becomes the second major member of the Times investigative unit to announce his departure in the past two weeks. Reporter-editor Alex Zayas announced last week she will be departing for New York in June to work with ProPublica.

 

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.
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