AHCJ member Dave Gulliver, formerly of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, launched the nonprofit Sarasota Health News late Wednesday night. In less than 24 hours, he posted five stories, including a feature, a computer-assisted piece and plenty of breaking news.
After being laid off in February, Gulliver said he looked around and saw that many important stories, including the watchdog and health business reports in which he had specialized, were going unreported.
“There are great stories that need to be told, that need to be written, and I thought I can still do those,” Gulliver said. “I don’t need a printing plant to do the job.”
He may no longer depend upon the printing press, but Gulliver now relies on something else: community support.
“For now, investigative reporting and news reporting – at least on the Internet – doesn’t have the commercial viability, but there seems to be a lot of philanthropic support out there so I decided to go [the nonprofit] route,” Gulliver said. “I’m fortunate that I live in Sarasota, Fla. which is a pretty progressive community. There are a lot of people out there willing to support a venture like this.”
Sarasota Health News hews to a more traditional news format rather than a more informal, blog-like approach because that’s where Gulliver’s experience lies.
“I think you have to do something to stand out from what’s already out there,” Gulliver said. “I had to go with what my strength was and what would stand out a little bit. It’s what I was doing before, it was really well received, and there’s still an audience for it.”
Gulliver said his content would ultimately depend on what that audience was looking for, but that he would focus on general health care with a heavy focus on watchdog, investigative and explanatory work.
“People really don’t know what’s going on under the hood of health care and I think they really want to know that,” Gulliver said.