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Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Bob.

Those who listen to "public" radio or watch "public" TV know very well by now that those stations can't survive on advertising, let alone the minor amounts they get -- or used to get -- from state or federal coffers. They rely on listeners and viewers to contribute.

Listeners and viewers don't give money spontaneously. They have to be asked -- which is why we have to put up with their fundraising spiels on the air.

Non-profit news sites like this one are going to have to do the same thing. At a recent meeting in Orlando, we learned that serious journalism online requires a combination of revenue sources -- grants, underwriting/ads, syndication fees, events, and donations from individuals. (If you're interested in the subject of non-profit news funding, here's background).

A few projects have been blessed by mega-donor "angels," including ProPublica and Texas Tribune. Most have not.

We are going to start asking our readers to step up, to become "members" of the Health News Florida family by making donations in the same way that public broadcasting does. 

Some of our readers are already supporters.  Joe Paduda, a consultant and blogger on workers' comp issues, has twice made a generous contribution, as has Bob LaMendola, the health reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Dolly Katz, an epidemiologist at CDC who has been a friend since I ran a journalism fellowship there, is another donor.

But the only time we ever got a rush of donations was in June 2010, when we asked for them. So we are going to start asking.
You can make tax-deductible donations through PayPal or you can mail a check made payable to Health Foundation of South Florida (our fiscal agent) and earmarked for Health News Florida:

Health Foundation of South Florida
Attention: Debra Johnson
One Biscayne Tower
2 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1710
Miami, FL 33131

--Carol Gentry, Editor, can be reached at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.