The Tampa Bay Times hired Justine Griffin from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune last year (2015) after several references told me: Watch out. She’ll set your department on fire. They were right. Since arriving here as a business reporter, Justine has been a dynamic source of energy and creativity. She is a prolific idea generator, a detailed reporter and a gifted writer. Justine, who had been a retail business reporter and an assistant projects editor who specialized in social media and digital journalism in Sarasota, has become a leader in our digital journalism efforts at the Times. She has given seminars to the business staff about Twitter, LinkedIn and other digital strategies. She is developing a business podcast. She has pushed the idea of digital newsletters and other platforms to get our good work in front of more readers. In other words: She has already grown into a newsroom leader – in less than a year.
– Chris Tisch, Business Editor, Tampa Bay Times
Justine is one of the reasons why there’s much buzz about the digital storytelling taking place in Sarasota. Justine has prospered in the “think big, act big” environment that exists in the Herald-Tribune newsroom. She has solid technical skills, a strong work ethic, and a nerd-level enthusiasm for new ideas. She’s organized, knows how to communicate effectively, and isn’t afraid to challenge conventional thinking. I’m a huge Justine Griffin fan. I’ve had the honor of working with hundreds upon hundreds of talents journalists breaking into the business. Justine is tops when it comes to leadership potential. She gets it.
– Bill Church, Executive Editor of the Herald-Tribune
Justine Griffin is a master networker who’s strong command of sourcing makes the Herald-Tribune’s coverage of retail and tourism the envy of Southwest Florida. Justine’s connections have repeatedly shown our readers, competitors and the players themselves that the Herald-Tribune is virtually the only source of serious retail news in our region – and that it would behoove them to play ball. Justine is also the epitome of the 21st century journo. She delivers a constant stream of news to her readers through tweets, blog items, dailies and larger 1A and Sunday 1A packages. She is an editor’s dream when it comes to “feeding the beast” and doing it with style – and then changing gears on her big project.
–Matt Sauer, Assistant Managing Editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Justine first worked as an intern at OBJ, and then we hired her as a part-time beat reporter on a temporary basis. She’s very good at meeting deadlines and is a prolific writer with very good creativity and research skills. She is outstanding in time management, teamwork, attitude, initiative, willingness to learn and flexibility. She is enthusiastic, professional and extremely persistent. She continuously strives to develop her own story ideas. She’s fearless about tackling complex, multi-source stories and has a strong work ethic.
– Susan Lundine, Managing Editor at Orlando Business Journal
Justine is a quick worker, a resourceful reporter and just a pleasure to be around. She doesn’t wait for directions but accepts them gracefully if needed. I always trusted that Justine would get the story.
– Tom Stieghorst, Cruise Editor at Travel Weekly
Justine was a summer intern in 2009. She was productive, smart and willing to work hard to improve. She was professional and very receptive to instruction and constructive criticism. Add to that her upbeat demeanor, and the result was a terrific intern experience for both sides of the equation.
– Bart Pfankuch, Editor at Rapid City Journal
Justine Griffin is an intense, reflective journalist. She has excellent reporting skills, writes in a clear and straightforward manner and loves to work. She’s an excellent listener and a quick study. I’ve yet to see her make a fact error. I have hired and taught dozens of reporters and reporting students in my career, and could place Justine in the top 10. It is nothing short of thrilling for a teacher to see sparks fly as innate ability meets ambition and work ethic. Justine will continue to grow and mature as a journalist, and as a professional. She’d be an asset to any newsroom; she stands head and shoulders above the field in terms of performance and potential. If you get a chance, hire her.
– Nan Connolly, former professor of journalism at the University of Central Florida