Health News Florida Inc. (HNF), an independent online news service launched in March 2007 with seed money from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) and two other Florida foundations, continues to thrive and has attracted more than 30,000 visitors in the first six months of this year. In addition, there are 4,732 people subscribing to the daily HNF e-Alert service.
Designed to keep the public informed of state and local health policy and finance issues at a time when financially struggling newspapers are having to shrink coverage, HNF also is generating original news stories that are being picked up by national news sources including the Associated Press, “USA Today” and Kaiser Health News.
In Florida, FHN stories have been carried by “Florida Trend” magazine, as well as “The Miami Herald,” “Tallahassee Democrat,” “Sun Sentinel,” and “Florida Times Union” newspapers among others.
FHN earlier this year was able to expand its coverage in Florida thanks to a $302,000 grant award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through its Community Information Challenge. WPHF and six other Florida foundations provided the required matching funds for the first year of this two-year grant.
Lisa Portelli, WPHF Program Director and President of the volunteer HNF Board of Directors, noted HNF does not take positions on issues or candidates; instead, it posts links to editorials, columns and letters that appear in publications around the state.
She also said although advertising revenue is important to HNF for sustainability, the HNF Board of Directors recently decided not to accept advertising that is “political in nature.” This important change was made to avoid any real or perceived conflicts or bias toward issues.
For more information about HNF or to sign up for free, daily e-alerts, go to www.healthnewsflorida.org