In an exclusive television interview with The Capitolist, POLITICO Florida reporters Matt Dixon and Alexandra Glorioso opened up about their experiences as they developed leads and talked with sources for their groundbreaking sexual harassment story implicating Florida State Senator Jack Latvala. A third reporter, Marc Caputo, worked with Dixon and Glorioso on the story but couldn’t be on the program because he is based in Miami.
Dixon and Glorioso agreed with the suggestion that the Latvala story was just the “tip of the iceberg” and that there could be much more to come.
Glorioso spoke in detail about the painful experiences the six women in the story shared during her vetting process, and detailed how the tips began to come together shortly after POLITICO coverage of an affair that ultimately led to the resignation of Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens. But the biggest break in the Latvala story came after women began reaching out to POLITICO after Latvala’s combative comments at an Associated Press media event on Thursday afternoon. Latvala has flatly denied the allegations in the story.
“I never had any incident with that,” Latvala told POLITICO at the event. “When do we go from reporting the news to making the news?”
Dixon declined to go into great detail about POLITICO’s vetting process for the Latvala story, but made it clear during the television interview that POLITICO’s editors and attorneys, being overly cautious, were involved in a thorough review of the story prior to publication, which explains in part why it was published so late on a Friday night.
“That wasn’t an ideal drop for us,” Dixon said. “We didn’t want it to be a Friday night news dump, but we wanted to make sure the story was accurate.”
The story, which relied on six unidentified women accusing Latvala of improper sexual conduct, led to Latvala being temporarily stripped of his control over the Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee pending the outcome of an investigation by an impartial third party.
It’s unusual for a story based on anonymous allegations to have such a powerful impact, but POLITICO Florida says it relied on a healthy vetting process to ensure the story was accurately reported.
“We’re not necessarily going to talk about that here,” Dixon said, “But we were overly comfortable and we went through many layers of editing and I’m sure everyone’s aware POLITICO has their own attorneys, and so we went through many layers internally before that story came out.”
POLITICO noted that although there is a political angle to the story, the six unidentified women came from both political parties. They insisted on anonymity only because they feared potential blowback when their stories went public.
“They came from all walks of life and told very similar stories,” said Glorioso. “The level of fear and trepidation that they had, going just on background, because they didn’t want to have retribution, or they didn’t want to be stripped of their clients, or they didn’t want people that they still knew in the process to be punished, was very serious.”
An eight-minute preview of the interview can be viewed below. The full interview airs Thursday at 11am on Fox49 in Tallahassee. After the broadcast, the full interview will posted online at TheCapitolist.com and will be shared on The Capitolist’s Facebook page.