A quarter of the local population is 65 and older, and with the coronavirus pandemic, there is no more vulnerable community. Bailey LeFever will join the Times on June 1.
“We’re both proud to participate in this program and grateful for the support,” said Times Executive Editor Mark Katches. “We are using the money to boost our coverage of news, issues and trends affecting our aging population in Tampa Bay. Given the demographics of our readers, which skew older, we are certain that the journalism we produce with this grant will connect and resonate with our readers.”
LeFever is an intern at the Miami Herald, where she covers local government and business and has reported on the coronavirus’ effect on endangered communities. LeFever has had internships at the Palm Beach Post and the Gainesville Sun. LeFever grew up in Ocala and studied journalism and American history at the University of Florida.
Report for America is a national program that has partnered with hundreds of newsrooms to get more journalists on the front line. For the 2020-21 year, Report for America will partner with more than 160 local news organizations to field 225 reporters.
“It’s now crystal clear that the need for trustworthy, accurate, and local information can be a matter of life and death,” said Steven Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America. “This surge of reporters should help meet this moment.”
Part of the salary for this reporting position will be covered by a grant from Frontline’s Local Journalism Initiative. The grant has supported some of the Times’ reporting on the coronavirus’ impact on the elderly. The Times and Frontline also have been collaborating on a long-term investigation on another topic.
“Amid this historic pandemic, trustworthy local news is more vital than ever,” said Frontline Executive Producer Raney Aronson. “Through our Local Journalism Initiative — generously funded by the Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — we are honored to help support the Tampa Bay Times as it bolsters its reporting ranks to cover the COVID-19 crisis.”
Both organizations support the Times’ desire to bring more coverage to this important segment of the community. It’s a good example of how even in these difficult times, there is widespread recognition of the important work the Times is doing and opportunities for new ways to pay for it.
If you would like to support this position in the long term, you can donate to the Tampa Bay Times Journalism Fund. Please flag your donation for the aging/seniors reporter.