Happy birthday, Sunshine State News

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Nancy Smith, columnist for Sunshine State News and the grand dame of the Florida Capitol Press Corps ever since Lucy Morgan hung up her spurs, and I agree on very little. She’s a tried-and-true conservative; I’m an all-over-the-map Charlie Crist acolyte. However, we both can agree on one matter: it’s a good thing that SSN launched on this day four years ago.

As Smith notes in a blog post marking SSN’s birthday, when the online news site first launched, the only house where Rick Scott was a household word was Rick Scott’s house and Mike Haridolpolos was a rising star in the Florida GOP.

Oh my, how the times have changed. Especially in the political news business.

SSN, this blog and its sister publications Sunburn and Context Florida, as well as The Florida Current and several other sides did not or barely existed in 2010, but now they are go-to sources of information for, not necessarily the average Floridian, but for the political class in this state.

I’ve estimated, based on my site traffic, that this cohort is comprised of forty- or fifty-thousand online readers who either work in politics or enjoy talking about it on a daily basis. These are the folks who check SayfieReview.com in the morning, worship at the altar of Marc Caputo, and have separate columns set up on their TweetDecks to monitor all of the political activity in the Sunshine State. It’s a small, but growing audience. It’s also an audience eagerly sought out by advertisers.

Like I said, I don’t often agree with Smith or her colleagues at Sunshine State News, but the site does an admirable job staying on top of all things political. Reporters Kevin Derby and Allison Nielsen provide a rapid-fire stream of news and information from the capital to the campaign trail. Smith’s columns are often a joy to read, simply because she enjoys so much sticking her pen in the eye of the conventional media. She has no problem offering a counterargument to the Bousquet-Klas axis.

Smith also says she’s my biggest fan (aside from my Tallahassee clients), so how can I not help but return some of the love?

Happy birthday, Sunshine State News.

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.