Florida chapter kicks off after hurricane delay

After a false start in which a program featuring a speaker from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had to be cancelled for Hurricane Irma, and a meet-and-greet fizzled due to last-minute work commitments by several prospective attendees, the South Florida chapter finally had its first official gathering in February.

A small, diverse group of health writers and editors met for brunch and coffee (sitting outdoors at a Miami restaurant – the benefit of being in Florida in February!) to share stories about the state of the industry, interesting articles they’re working on, and ways to move the chapter forward.

A writer and an editor from the Miami Herald described how they determine what stories to cover, while several freelance journalists talked about the ways they’ve had to change their work in this era of vanishing magazine and newspaper pages. One participant – a reporter who became a physician but still writes op-eds and other articles – discussed the challenges of balancing both of these passions. Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup, co-chair of the group, announced that after receiving her doctorate this spring, she will be leaving South Florida for a fellowship at Harvard. (Great for her, bad for the group – which is now in the market for a new co-chair.)

The meeting brought together health journalists from Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Miami. One of the issues discussed is how to accommodate people who live in the wide geographical area of South Florida in future gatherings. Also bandied about was the possibility of pairing with other local journalism organizations to hold joint events.

If you live on the east coast of South Florida and want to be involved in this chapter (or know someone who does), please contact independent journalist Meryl Davids Landau.

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