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Tampa Bay Times’ Anthony Cormier leaving to work for BuzzFeed News

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Anthony Cormier is leaving the paper to join BuzzFeed News in New York next month.

Along with the Times’ Leonora LaPeter Anton and the Sarasota Herald Tribune’s Michael Braga, Cormier shared in taking home the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series on Florida’s unsafe system of state-run mental hospitals.

The 2015 series uncovered nearly 1,000 assaults or injuries in mental hospitals during a period in which $100 million was slashed from the state’s mental health budget. That forced staffing cuts and created an environment where employees were forced to work double shifts and supervise more than a dozen violent and unstable patients alone.

In response, Florida lawmakers passed a measure in the 2016 session that added $16 million to the mental hospitals’ budgets, $2.4 million to contract with psychiatrists and other professional staff members, and $1.5 million for safety equipment such as security cameras and body alarms.

Prior to coming to the Times, Cormier reported for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Among his accomplishments there was an investigative series with Braga called, “Breaking the Banks,” The stories showed how some Florida bankers broke the law and looted their own institutions in the pursuit of quick and easy profits during the real estate boom. The reports ultimately led to the indictments of three bankers and lawsuits from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It won first prize in the print/online-small category award from Investigative Reporters and Editors in 2014.

Cormier will work in Buzzfeed’s Investigative Unit, which is led by Pulitzer Prize-winning editor Mark Schoofs.  He told POLITICO that Buzzfeed received nearly 700 applications for the investigative reporter position that ultimately went to Cormier.

“We chose Anthony because he has done great work on a whole range of topics, of which [the hospital investigation] is merely the most decorated of his stories,” Schoofs told the website. “If you look at the range of topics that Anthony has covered, it is astounding.”

Cormier is graduate of Florida State University.

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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