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Phil Lewis

Contact: 239-263-4863 | Send Phil an email

Recent Work

  • Phil Lewis: Speaking up for journalists Published 04/18/2009 at 5:05 p.m.

    It’s been a rough year for the press. Newspapers have closed and news staffs have been trimmed in this country and abroad as the worldwide recession and a changing business model have taken a toll unseen in previous years. But, ...

  • Phil Lewis: Sid Kitson’s vision sparks another dream Published 04/11/2009 at 7 p.m.

    Our front page Friday carried a story about a pollution-free power plant proposed for Charlotte County. We’re betting the world’s first solar-powered city will indeed be in Southwest Florida.

  • Phil Lewis: Cruciverbalists spelled it out for us Published 04/04/2009 at 6:05 p.m.

    What’s an eight-letter word for “not happy?” Fourth letter is an “m,” Starts and ends with a “d.” Pencil in “dismayed.” That’s what many of our local crossword-puzzle fans have been since Wayne Williams retired. Williams, a native of Scranton, ...

  • Phil Lewis: Redefining what we call ‘journalism’ Published 03/28/2009 at 6:03 p.m.

    A plaque hangs on a stairwell wall at the University of Missouri, carrying words that were the inspiration for the world’s first school of journalism. It’s headlined “The Journalist’s Creed.” Eight paragraphs of fundamental beliefs follow.

  • Phil Lewis: We need more openness, especially at federal level Published 03/14/2009 at 6:02 p.m.

    It’s Sunshine Sunday, the kick off to a weeklong, annual celebration of the public’s right to know. Newspapers, especially those in Florida, helped create and foster the observance. Nearly every paper in the state has an editorial today concerning open ...

  • Phil Lewis: Gambling will expand — bet on it! Published 03/07/2009 at 6:02 p.m.

    Gambling interests — and there are lots of them these days in Florida, including Lee and Collier counties — are waiting to see who blinks first.

  • Phil Lewis: Opening up meetings in cyberspace Published 01/31/2009 at 7:02 p.m.

    Public meetings, the kind governed by Florida’s important Sunshine Law, are about to take the first step into cyberspace with the blessing of the state’s top legal authority, Attorney General Bill McCollum.

  • Phil Lewis: Why it’s called the ‘pursuit’ of perfection Published 01/24/2009 at 7:02 p.m.

    The age-old mission to put out a perfect news report continues. Perfection, in the newspaper world, is a lot like objectivity: something to strive for but never reached. We had our struggles last week.

  • Phil Lewis: Coming Wednesday: an ‘historic’ publication Published 01/17/2009 at 7:03 p.m.

    The newsroom is gearing up for Tuesday’s presidential inauguration. On the Web side, we will be posting photos, videos and eyewitness reports as we receive them from our wire services and from the dozen or so local residents who have ...

  • Phil Lewis: Funny funnies; video clips; Lee sheriff calls Published 01/10/2009 at 7:02 p.m.

    Some odds and ends from the editor’s desk this past week:

  • Phil Lewis: Back to the future Published 01/03/2009 at 7:01 p.m.

    Little over a decade ago, the Daily News hosted the annual gathering of Scripps-Howard managing editors. The meeting would rotate among the newspapers — one year in Cincinnati, the next in Memphis or Denver or Knoxville. In 1997, it was ...

  • Phil Lewis: What would the Founders do with the Web? Published 11/24/2007 at 7:33 p.m.

    “Congress shall make no law ... .” That’s how the First Amendment starts out in an historic move by the Founding Fathers to make sure government doesn’t control our speech, our press or our right to worship.

  • Phil Lewis: Endorsing democracy, responsibility Published 08/13/2006 at midnight

    Members of the editorial board at the Daily News have been in election mode the past month. Tomorrow, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., we are scheduled to meet with Charlie Crist and Rod Smith, respectively seeking the GOP and ...

  • Phil Lewis: Endorsement: It's official — or is it? Published 08/06/2006 at midnight

    Naples Mayor Bill Barnett has jumped into the Florida governor's race. He's not a candidate, but he is throwing his support behind one of the Republicans who hopes to replace Gov. Jeb Bush. Endorsement letters with City of Naples letterhead ...

  • Phil Lewis: Socially responsible development? Published 07/30/2006 at 12:14 a.m.

    When it comes to affordable housing, meaningful progress has been elusive. The Daily News is six parts into an on-going series on the lack of affordable housing in Southwest Florida, its impact on our quality of life, the factors fueling ...

  • Phil Lewis: Immokalee's award returned to the newspaper in mint condition, values intact Published 07/23/2006 at 12:14 a.m.

    A brown manila envelope with no return address arrived in our newsroom Thursday. Inside was a polished, wood and metal plaque with the following inscription: “Boys Soccer Player of the Year” It was the plaque the Daily News had given ...

  • Phil Lewis: To those who played by the rules Published 07/16/2006 at midnight

    Each year the Daily News honors high school athletes with "Player of the Year" awards in the various boys and girls sports. Fall, winter and spring, we devote several full-color pages to the top athletes and coaches along with stunning ...

  • Phil Lewis: Government and press clashing; here they can Published 07/09/2006 at 12:14 a.m.

    Much is being made over the publishing of news stories detailing how the U.S. Treasury Department has been secretly monitoring banking records since Sept. 11 in an effort to track down terrorists.

  • Phil Lewis: Attorney general race one to watch if debate any indication Published 06/25/2006 at midnight

    The four leading contenders to replace Gov. Jeb Bush found themselves in a unique campaign situation Friday morning. They were in a bottom-floor ballroom of the Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg to address the editors of the state's daily newspapers.

  • Phil Lewis: Here's why we ignored 'over-valued' realty story Published 06/18/2006 at midnight

    It earned a mention on the front page of USA Today and it was the top story on at least one 11 o'clock newscast, but you didn't see anything about it last week in the Daily News. It was a ...

  • Phil Lewis: Immigration on the flip side Published 06/11/2006 at midnight

    The press has been using nothing more than guesses the past few months when reporting on immigration. During the massive marches of late April and early May, newspapers were estimating that 11 million people, most of them Hispanic, were living ...

  • Phil Lewis: The line that will forever change the Gulf Published 06/04/2006 at midnight

    The way we understand it, Southwest Florida's fate when it comes to offshore oil and natural gas drilling rests with some guy out in California — Richard W. Pombo. U.S. Rep. Pombo, a Republican, is chairman of the House Resources ...

  • Phil Lewis: Telling Wilma's story Published 06/01/2006 at midnight

    As this is being written a tropical storm is forming off the coast of Central America. Forecasters say it could become Hurricane Beta. First Alpha and now Beta. I hate it. When Wilma was born we ran out of names, ...

  • Phil Lewis: Column on Sheriff's Office paper fees prompted several responses Published 05/28/2006 at midnight 1 Comment

    Last Sunday's column about the Lee County Sheriff's Office requiring an up-front, $1,000 deposit before agreeing to fill a public records request made by the Daily News spawned phone calls from both the new sheriff and the old one.

  • Phil Lewis: Sheriff asks for deposit before search for records Published 05/21/2006 at midnight

    One of our reporters made a public records request of Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott this past week. We're told it will yield a stack of documents a foot high after the sheriff's office collects all the papers and records ...

  • Phil Lewis: Where is the worst place to be a journalist? Published 05/07/2006 at midnight

    At Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, 59 names were added to a spiral-shaped monument dedicated to reporters, photographers and editors killed while covering news events. Those 59 — all killed in 2005 — bring the total names on the Freedom ...

  • Phil Lewis: Got a decade? Failing to act now could cost us later Published 04/30/2006 at midnight

    A few months back, Florida Trend magazine did a story about "work force housing," a term often used interchangeably with affordable housing. The piece in the statewide business magazine told how climbing home prices and flat-line wages were making it ...

  • Phil Lewis: Letter to readers Published 04/23/2006 at midnight

    What's the biggest problem facing Southwest Florida today? This newspaper believes it's the lack of affordable housing. We are not alone.

  • Guest commentary: Secret sources are gnawing at journalism's foundation Published 04/23/2006 at midnight

    Most journalists in America, past and present, have championed "the people's right to know" as the cornerstone of freedom of the press. Today's journalists continue to shout in protest about the lack of news access, but they can be accused ...

  • Phil Lewis: Lawmakers want to curtail our right to information Published 04/16/2006 at midnight

    The next two weeks I'm assigning my weekly column space to two ardent defenders of the First Amendment. They have important things to say about the public's right to know. The first guest columnist is Barbara Petersen, president of the ...

  • Phil Lewis: What can we do to fight against modern slavery? Published 04/09/2006 at midnight

    "I didn't strive to be the slavery guy," the slavery guy said as a few hundred people contemplated their plates of Cornish hen and rice at the Country Club of Naples. "I'm recruiting new soldiers," he said. "You have to ...

  • Phil Lewis: Mulling a millionaire study Published 04/02/2006 at midnight

    A press release titled "Study Names Top 10 Wealthiest U.S. Counties" jumped out at us last week from among the hundreds of faxes and e-mails we receive each week in the newsroom.

  • Phil Lewis: Readers tell us how we're doing in survey Published 03/26/2006 at midnight

    We just completed an ambitious survey aimed at measuring reader satisfaction. Hundreds of readers were called in December and January and invited to participate in a 40-minute telephone survey. Forty minutes is a long time, as surveys go, but this ...

  • Phil Lewis: Marine Corps League honors our free press Published 03/19/2006 at midnight

    The Daily News staff thanks the Marine Corps League of Naples for staging its second annual salute to the free press. The speaker at this year's observance, held Wednesday at the Elk's Club in East Naples, was Hal Buell, who ...

  • Phil Lewis: Wall Street Journal plans to cut down the width of its newspaper Published 03/05/2006 at midnight

    The front page of the nation's second most widely read newspaper will shrink soon. Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger, who was in Naples on Feb. 21 to address the Yale Club, said each page will be 20 percent ...

  • Phil Lewis: Gone fishin': Daily News managing editor retires Published 02/26/2006 at midnight

    This Sunday morning, it is a safe bet that Daily News Managing Editor Bill Blanton is gripping a flyrod and working his way along a spit of mangroves somewhere down in the Ten Thousand Islands. It's his birthday, and saltwater ...

  • Phil Lewis: Was Emeril misquoted on Naples trip? Published 02/19/2006 at 12:04 a.m.

    Emeril Lagasse's visit to Naples last month left a bad taste in his mouth. Emeril, the rock star of American chefs, participated in this year's Naples Winter Wine Fest and helped raise $12 million for children's charities in Collier County.

  • Phil Lewis: A medium born in 1844 passes away Published 02/05/2006 at 12:04 a.m.

    The telegram passed away quietly 10 days ago at the age of 161. Though it changed the world for much the better, few were bedside when the life-support plug was pulled. In fact, the death initially went unnoticed by the ...

  • Phil Lewis: Smuggling: Drugs, guns, now people Published 01/29/2006 at 12:02 a.m.

    Slavery exists. Human bondage is alive and well. It’s in our own back yard. You just have to know what to look for to see it. We can all help put an end to it. That’s the message of a ...

  • Phil Lewis: A toast to Naples' guest list Published 01/22/2006 at midnight

    The "Gossip Queen" of newspapers is coming to Naples. Cindy Adams, who has been writing about the rich and famous in the New York Post for the past 25 years, is on the guest list for this coming week's Naples ...

  • Phil Lewis: Samuel Alito weighs in on the First Amendment Published 01/15/2006 at midnight

    The First Amendment and how it is viewed by Samuel Alito got little ink and no air time in national media reports this past week. Most of the headlines during the U.S. Senate's grilling of the Supreme Court nominee deal ...

  • Phil Lewis: 12 survive? Here is how it happened Published 01/08/2006 at midnight

    “They’re Alive!” “Miner Miracle” “12 Survive” Those headlines or ones similar screamed off the front pages of newspapers from Maine to Arizona this past Wednesday morning.

  • Phil Lewis: A correction and an apology Published 01/01/2006 at midnight

    Nearly two years ago, a former Naples businessman, entrepreneur and professional golf promoter by the name of Bill Rasmussen sued the Daily News and three of its writers. He claimed that parts of our Stadium Naples corruption coverage, which spanned ...

  • Phil Lewis: Connecting, escaping — 2005-style Published 12/25/2005 at midnight

    If you get a chance to catch "The French Connection" on one of those late-night, cable TV movie channels, pay close attention to a scene that comes relatively early in the award-winning film.

  • Phil Lewis: Gambling: What's it mean here? Published 12/18/2005 at midnight

    The local news media, including this newspaper, made mention two weeks ago that the debate in Tallahassee over how many and what type of slot machines will be allowed over on the East Coast could have an impact on us ...

  • Phil Lewis: Repercussions from Sherman's media march Published 12/11/2005 at midnight

    It's been more than a month now, but Naples investment banker Bruce Sherman continues to be the talk of the newspaper industry. As this is being written, executives of Knight Ridder Inc. are reviewing initial offers from those interested in ...

  • Phil Lewis: Repercussions from Sherman's media march Published 12/11/2005 at midnight

    It's been more than a month now, but Naples investment banker Bruce Sherman continues to be the talk of the newspaper industry. As this is being written, executives of Knight Ridder Inc. are reviewing initial offers from those interested in ...

  • Phil Lewis: What were the top news events of 2005? Published 12/04/2005 at midnight

    'Tis the season in the newspaper business to start preparing "year-end" stories. Editors across the country use the traditionally slow news week between Christmas and New Year's Day to take a look back at the year that was.

  • Phil Lewis: Newspaper guarantees a timely topic Published 11/27/2005 at midnight

    One of my earliest memories of newspapers and Florida was the unique guarantee offered years ago by the now defunct St. Petersburg Evening Independent. The afternoon newspaper, which ceased publication in 1986, used to promise that if the sun failed ...

  • Phil Lewis: We keep bucking the trend Published 11/13/2005 at midnight

    The bad news came as no surprise this past week, when the paid circulation figures for the nation's daily newspapers were released. Sales were down again.

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