After 30 years in the South Florida news business, Dan Christensen isn't about to let one small layoff stop him from mining the bottomless pit of Broward County corruption.
The veteran Daily Business Review and Miami Herald reporter has launched a new nonprofit investigative news site, Broward Bulldog, that aims to pick up where the ever-shrinking dailies leave off.
"We're gonna report the news and let the chips fall where they may," says
Christensen, editor and CEO for the site. "We want to be a hard-news website."
Christensen has proven his chops as a muckraker. He uncovered ex-Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne's secret business deals, sparking a federal corruption investigation that landed Jenne in prison. Then he revealed shadow court cases that were left off the public docket in Broward Circuit Court, prompting the Florida Supreme Court to ban the practice.
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But this spring, he was laid off from the Herald, joining hundreds of South Florida journalists who have lost their jobs in the Great Daily Death Spiral. He refused to let the setback end his career.
"I'm not ready to stop doing this," he says. "I enjoy it, and I also think there's a need for it. But will it work out? I don't know."
Broward Bulldog has applied for tax-exempt status and is hoping to run on donations. But right now, it's an all-volunteer operation, which means Christensen and his colleagues could use some cash, fast.
To get a taste of the digging they can do, check out Christensen's first story for the site, about the role of Broward sheriff's detectives in the wrongful rape and murder convictions of Jerry Frank Townsend.