Brightest minds in Florida politics: Marc Caputo

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A reporter on the list of the Brightest Minds in Florida politics? Yes indeed. Here’s why…

Certainly there are reporters as plugged in, if not more, into state government than Marc Caputo. Breaking news out of the Florida capital? Check Gary Fineout’s Twitter account. Looking for the most elegant, comprehensive explanation of a complex issue? Read Mary Ellen Klas. Want to know who is the next “great” statewide political reporter. You should pay attention to Matt Dixon.

But the scribe who best “gets” Florida politics … the one journalist who could have made it as a political consultant had he not been a reporter … That’s Caputo.

Here’s the guy who has captured, generated, and dissected some of the most influential moments in Florida political journalism.

The “Caputo Cam” — Caputo’s equivalent of the dashboard cam — doesn’t shy away from the tough questions of lawmakers or bureaucrats. Nor does the man who holds it.

Caputo actually holds people accountable,” says leading public affairs operative Kevin Cate, “and there is no higher compliment I can give to a journalist.” 

Caputo joined the Miami Herald as a political writer in 2003, and has become among the most sought — and certainly most feared — of those in the Fourth Estate.

Caputo worked with El Nuevo Herald editor Manny Garcia to expose campaign misdoings of Democratic congressional candidate Justin Lamar Sternad, a former hotel employee accused of being a ringer recruited by Rivera to run against Joe Garcia. If you aren’t already familiar with that case, don’t feel badly if you need to read that sentence twice.

That’s Miami politics for you, and Caputo is among the most adept in the business at making sure politicking stays as transparent as it can be.

Caputo’s Sunday column is, in this blogger’s estimation, regularly the best 600 words about Florida politics to be read anywhere.

More important, it’s Caputo who again and again and again gets the leaks from the capital and the campaigns. Adam Hollingsworth has a bogus degree? Caputo nailed him. Bad poll numbers in Scottworld? Caputo had them first.

Leak, leak, leak. Scoop, scoop, scoop.

There are skills learned in journalism school; and then there’s the instincts, policy knowledge, and keen sense of words that are the mark of reporting brilliance. In Florida journalism and politics, Caputo is one of those brightest minds in action.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.