For the past nine months, Splinter has been setting up “virtual bureaus” across the country for our Think Local project on the premise that embedded writers and photographers know the stories in their communities better than we do.
We’ve published veteran journalists and brand-new writers (and everyone in between) after road trips to Texas, the Rust Belt, and the Deep South—all hotbeds of social justice issues Splinter cares about, but places where our freelance networks hadn’t yet sufficiently reached. Now, we’re heading to Florida.
When I hit the road later this month, it will feel less like a scouting mission and more like a homecoming. Fusion—our site’s former namesake and still the name of our sister TV network—was born in Miami, the cosmopolitan epicenter of a state that grapples with some of the most pressing issues in America: immigration, divided politics, environmental justice, culture wars, and race tensions. Those dynamics, combined with its famous open-government laws, make Florida one of the best places for writers. (Whenever a baby journalist asks me advice on where to move after college, I often tell them to consider the Sunshine State.)
Starting on January 15, I will be driving through Miami, up the coast and west to Orlando, then to St. Petersburg and Tampa, up to Gainesville, Jacksonville, and west again to Tallahassee. I’ll be meeting with writers and photographers covering Florida during one of the most contentious and polarized eras in modern American history. As always, if you’re living in a smaller town and are doing interesting journalistic or activist work, please let me know that, too! I’m interested in rich, vivid narratives about people—especially ones whose lives have been rocked by the current political moment. (Here are my pitch guidelines.)