Matt Waite is a professor of practice at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, teaching reporting and digital product development. He is also a graduate of the college, earning a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1997.
Prior to joining the faculty, he was the senior news technologist for the St. Petersburg Times of Florida and the principal developer of the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.
In 2007, he began working as a hybrid journalist/programmer, combining reporting experience and Web development to create new platforms for journalism. The first platform he developed was PolitiFact, a website that fact checks what politicians say. The site became the first website awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. After PolitiFact, he and the New Products Development Team built journalistic products involving entertainment listings, high school sports, local crime and real estate. His projects tripled traffic to high school sports content, doubled local audience, won awards and accounted for more than 50 percent of all traffic to the St. Petersburg Times websites in less than a year.
Before becoming a Web developer, he was an award-winning investigative reporter. He began his journalism career at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, covering police and breaking news, including deadly tornadoes and the crash of American Airlines flight 1420 in 1999. In 2000, he moved to the St. Petersburg Times, covering crime and city government in a suburban county. In 2003 he moved to the metro staff of the Times and later the investigative staff. From 2005-2007, he co-authored a series of award-winning stories about Florida's vanishing wetlands. That work was later expanded into a book, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," published in 2009 by the University Press of Florida.
In 2009, he co-founded Hot Type Consulting, a company that builds applications for media outlets. Hot Type has helped launch a major new non-profit journalism entity in the Texas Tribune and has produced award-winning websites for other clients.
He is married to fellow UNL CoJMC graduate Nancy (Zywiec) Waite and has two children.