As a public radio reporter and producer, Sammy Mack makes a lot of noise on air and online. You can find her work for WLRN News here.
Here are some highlights:
Over the past decade, more than 850 children and teenagers in Miami-Dade County were rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Most of them — nearly 90 percent — survived. The WLRN series Young Survivors: The Unspoken Trauma of Gun Violence asks what happens to those kids. What does it mean for their families – and for our community?
Ask what something costs in health care and you can easily come back with a half dozen different answers. That's why WLRN and Health News Florida have worked with Clear Health Costs to bring transparency to health care costs, and the forces that drive them. The project relies on audience crowdsourcing to reverse-engineer how things get purchased in health care. From the difference between a cost and a charge to the way federal rules impact colonoscopy co-pays, PriceCheck empowers audiences to have meaningful conversations about what they pay for their health.
Florida counties can now authorize needle exchanges, after a 2019 bill aimed at reducing HIV and hepatitis C was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. Sammy Mack has been following the ongoing push for this policy, and she produced this story about part of what changed after years of rejection.
There are more than 5,000 Floridians waiting for organ transplants right now. Most of them have been waiting a year or more to be matched with a donor. But a convergence of developments — including the rise of the opioid epidemic and new treatments for the hepatitis C virus — mean that for South Florida patients who are willing to accept an organ with hep C, the pool of potential donors has gotten bigger.
For one of Sammy’s first assignments covering education policy, she visited Jacksonville in North Florida on a reporting trip. During interviews about Common Core and math and science education, sources kept raising concerns about racism. They pointed to Nathan B. Forrest High School, a majority African American school named for the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Sammy asked the new superintendent about it. National outlets picked up the story. Here’s what happened six months later:
Rocket launches are cool. Watching a group of science teachers at a launch? Pretty inspiring.
For this story, Sammy tagged along with science teachers on a field trip at NASA. Listen for how she blends interviews and NASA Mission Control tape to recreate the launch scene.
On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew slammed into Miami-Dade County, changing the landscape of South Florida forever.
Remembering Andrew stitches together found sound, archival news footage, and more than thirty hours of interviews into a single hour of radio. Months of reporting, combined with aggressive use of social media, allowed WLRN to uncover new stories, commemorating the disaster for those who experienced it and recounting it for those who didn't.
This documentary and its companion series won many awards including a Green Eyeshade best in show and a bronze for best documentary at the Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition.