In a Columbia Journalism Review story about the demand for political reporters in Florida, the Naples Daily News’ Manny Garcia offers an eerily prescient quote about the hot-stove-league nature of the state’s journalism.
“You have to have a pipeline because sometimes you’re going to lose people,” Garcia told Susannah Nesmith.
Why is this prescient? Well, because Garcia is about to lose one of his stars.
Matt Dixon, the chief of the fledgling E.W. Scripps Co. bureau in the state capital and widely considered the brightest rising star of Florida’s Capitol press corps, is headed to POLITICO, FloridaPolitics.com has learned.
Dixon was seen meeting on Tuesday with POLITICO management at Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Economic Growth Summit in Orlando and is said to have accepted an offer after giving his current bosses at the Naples Daily News a heads-up.
would not comment for this story confirmed his new employment status Thursday via Twitter.
Dixon will head POLITICO’s “team of political and policy writers in Tallahassee” the news organization is committed to hiring this year as part of its expansion plans.
According to an email from Andrew Sollinger, executive director of POLITICO New York (through which POLITICO Florida will be operated), a subscription news service will launch this coming autumn.
In the meantime, Sollinger writes he is “chatting with the top lobbyists in the state to better understand your info needs, what you use now for intel, and what you wish you had with the wave of a magic wand.”
Earlier this year, POLITICO hired Marc Caputo away from the Miami Herald.
Pairing Dixon with Caputo gives POLITICO a one-two punch almost every other news organization will find difficult to match. One of the running jokes along Adams Street in Tallahassee is if you can’t leak a story to Caputo, Dixon is always available — and vice versa.
Dixon first began to turn heads at the Florida Times-Union where he was the first to report Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s resignation in March 2013, and spent five months investigating how the tobacco industry secretly pushed legislation through the state Legislature. To date, the measure has saved five tobacco companies nearly $500 million, according to a story in the Naples Daily News.
According to a NDN story about his hiring, Dixon was awarded the Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting in 2010, the Florida Press Club’s top government reporting award in 2011, and Morris Communication’s prize for investigative reporting in 2013.
Dixon, a Wisconsin native, is a graduate of Marquette University.
He came to Florida immediately after graduation in 2008 to work for the Villages Daily Sun. Dixon has also covered government at the Panama City News Herald before he joined the Florida Times-Union.