Matthew F Smith

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.

Originally from Delaware, he moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, as well as a radio producer, talk show host, and news director at stations across Alaska, where his reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he spent several months producing television news before joining WGCU as the Gulf Coast Live producer in August 2016.

Matthew studied English and journalism at Villanova University in Villanova, PA, where he wrote for the school newspaper and other school publications. He taught English as a Second Language for several years before pursuing a career in journalism.

Hoping to get ahead of potential Zika outbreaks, Planned Parenthood of Collier County is launching a new education initiative aimed at prevention. While anyone is a target for a mosquito carrying the virus, the awareness program aims to help women protect their unborn children from the virus in underserved communities like Immokalee.

New research shows the Zika virus was likely in the state earlier than health officials had previously thought—and had arrived in the state on multiple occasions.

Theaters in South Florida, and across the United States, Canada, and Europe, are screening the film adaption of George Orwell's dystopian classic 1984 on Tuesday, Apr. 4. The date was chosen because it's the day Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith, begins his fight against "Big Brother" by keeping a forbidden diary.


Few animals arouse the instinct to hunt quite like the Burmese Python. The invasive species has slithered across the Everglades and into every corner of South Florida, taking over habitat from native species and consuming thousands of pounds of prey animals. 

The FGCU student government has passed a resolution calling on university administrators to work toward adopting a "sanctuary campus" policy.

The designation is considered by many a reaction to the Trump administration's pledge to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, instituted by the Obama administration in 2012 to provide protections against deportations for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States at a young age.

New estimates through mid-2016 show Florida's surge in syphilis cases continued last year, with cases of infectious syphilis jumping statewide by 36 percent by the middle the middle of year.

Syphilis in Florida grew by a shocking 72.8 percent from 2010 through 2014, and continued to grow by nearly 20 percent the following year. In some parts of South Florida, the rate of infection per 100,000 people is greater than in major cities like Los Angeles. Southwest Florida counties like Lee and Sarasota saw small numbers of the disease triple or quadruple during that six-month period.

Florida lawmakers hid hundreds of millions of dollars for special projects inside funding for state universities, a report from the Naples Daily News claims.

The projects, added without debate or input from the public or other lawmakers, don't officially appear in the state's $82.3 billion budget approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

South Florida is a hotspot for invasive species, and the exotic plants, reptiles, amphibians, and fish that take root in the subtropical region of Florida can cause harm to the ecology, economy, and even human health.

From invasive Burmese pythons to Argentine black and white tegus, from Clown Knifefish in the water to the climbing, coiling kudzu plants, Florida’s native plants and animals face displacement by nonnative species.

Women are drinking more heavily, and alcohol is behind a growing number of their deaths, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal health data.

The number of white women dying from alcohol-related problems rose 130 percent nationwide since 1999; for Hispanic women, alcohol-related deaths grew by 30 percent in that same time frame. Federal health data shows the prevalence of binge drinking among women up by more than 40 percent since the late 1990s, leading to more ER visits and a growing number of accidents, injuries, and chronic diseases.

Hundreds of cases of human trafficking are reported in Florida every year, and a new report from 2016 shows the number of human trafficking cases in the state doubled in the last year.

The vast majority of trafficked persons in Florida are young women, and sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking in the state, according to a report from Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Families.

Tucked inside a massive multi-billion federal waterworks bill is funding for a project proponents say is vital to the future of South Florida: the Central Everglades Planning Project.

The $1.9 billion dollars for CEPP, split between the federal and state government, is part of the $10 billion Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The CEPP plan will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put forward a "a suite of restoration projects in the central Everglades."


An international team of researchers headed by a Florida Gulf Coast University professor is trying to understand the most common marine toxin in the world. 

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found Florida's roads are among the deadliest for motorcyclists. Florida Highway Patrol's data also points to 2016 to being a deadlier year on the roads in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Manatee, and Sarasota counties for all motorists.