Daytona Beach News-Journal police reporter Lyda Longa leaving daily newspaper to become city's cop shop PIO

Lyda Longa is an avid surfer / Headline Surfer
Photos for Headline Surfer / Lyda Longa sports the press card in hat look of yesteryear in print newspapers as a joke by one of her colleagues as she begins winding down her employment there after more than a dozen years. In her leisure time, Longa is an avid surfer as shown in the photo at left.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Veteran Daytona Beach News-Journal police reporter Lyda Longa, one of the few holdovers left from the daily newspaper of record when it was owned by the Davidson family until early 2012, when it was sold in a court-supervised fire sale, is leaving to become the new public information officer for the Daytona Beach Police Department.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri confirmed Longa's hiring in an email to Headline Surfer over the weekend, briefly stating in part, "Yes, we hired Lyda. She starts in a few weeks. We hired her because she was the best qualified candidate." 

Headline Surfer also confirmed Longa's impending departure with two News-Journal employees who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation with their employer.

The News-Journal was acquired by Halifax Media in 2012, and was sold by that entity to Gatehouse Media of upstate New York a couple of years ago. Prior to 2012, the News-Journal had close to 900 employees. Today it has roughly 100.

Daytona PD Chief Craig Capri / Headline SurferDaytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri, shown here, confirmed Lyda Longa's hiring in an email to Headline Surfer over the weekend, briefly stating in part, "Yes, we hired Lyda. She starts in a few weeks. We hired her because she was the best qualified candidate." 

Headline Surfer also confirmed Longa's impending departure with two News-Journal employees who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation with their employer.

Daytona Beach PD is switching to a civilian-style PIO staff, as Capri likes what he sees with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, which has had civilian PIOs for nearly 24 years. The VCSO and Daytona Beach PD., are ranked 1-2 and by far are the largest of Volusia County's 14 law enforcement agencies. The VCSO has three full-time PIOs.

Port Orange, Ormond Beach, DeLand, New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Holly Hill, Daytona Beach Shores, South Daytona, Lake Helen, Orange City, Ponce Inlet and the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue (formerly Beach Patrol) have assigned sworn personnel performing the functions of the PIO.

Longa is the third News-Journal reporter to give notice to in order to work for a local government entity as a PIO.  

Chris Graham / Headline SurferChris Graham, who had been a repotrrter for the News-Journal for nearly five years covering Ormond Beach and then county governmen, left the newspaper in January 2016, to become "community information specialist" for DeLand city government. 

Andrew Gant / Headline SurferAndrew Gant, county government reporter for the News-Journal for four years. left in November 2014 to become an assistant PIO at the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Gant's supervisor, Gary Davidson, also covered the county government beat for the News-Journal for a couple of years before he left the newspaper to go work as the main PIO at the VCSO 23 years ago.

Vintage picture of Lyda Lonfa as a baby in Havana, CubaLyda Longa is proud of her Cuban heritage. She describes this vintage photo posted on her Facebook page as follows: "The four generations....my beautiful mom in black, my great grandmother, me and my grandmother. My first birthday in Cuba."
 
FAST FACTS: Lyda Longa
Journalism Career: 12-plus years with the Daytona Beach News-Journal, first couple of years covering Volusia County government before taking over police beat, primarily breaking cop news in Daytona Beach, in-depth reporting and trends; also worked asa reporter in the 1990s for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
Awards: 2008 Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, Features & Arts Writing, Second Place, Lyda Longa (for “Did Ronnie get a death sentence?"), Daytona Beach News-Journal; 2009 Florida Press Club, First Place, Public Safety, Lyda Longa, Daytona Beach News-Journal.
College: Attended Florida International University.
Family: Married; has a 16-year-old dog (a Westie).
Resides: Ormond Beach.
Born: July 16, 1959, Havana, Cuba. Speaks fluent Spanish and English.
Activities: Avid Surfer.
 
Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.