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Summary

Susannah Nesmith is an award-winning journalist with a passion for story-telling and a track record of leading teams to produce compelling content that engages audiences. 

Professional Experience

2009Present

Multimedia Freelance Journalist

Miami, Florida

Online, print and broadcast clients include  The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Columbia Journalism Review, CNN's Death Row Stories, Bloomberg News, The Daily Business Review, The Miami Herald, AARP Bulletin, Planning magazine and Poder Hispanic magazine.

  • Regular monthly contributor of media criticism columns to Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project.  Susannah knows every enviromental repoter in the state of Florida, and most of their editors.·
  • Lead South Florida correspondent on the legal team of Bloomberg News. (Many stories are only available to subscribers. The linked list is a partial list.) ·Susannah is experienced in covering federal cases, where many environmental issues play out.
  • Author/Investigator for The Florida Center for Investigative Journalism’s investigation into the prosecution of sex traffickers – broadcast in October 2015 in collaboration with WFOR – CBS4Miami. Print versions ran in newspapers around the state. Susannah is able to do television and radio interviews on complex topics. 
  • Investigative Reporter for three episodes of the CNN documentary series Death Row Stories during the 2014-2015 season.(The imdb.com listing.
20142015

Associate Editor 

As You Were; The Military Experience

Edits submissions to a unique literary journal dedicated to the military experience, with submissions by and about veterans. This literary journal is unique because the editors do more than give writers a yay or nay. For pieces with potential, editors work one-on-one to workshop their submissions.  Military veterans are an untapped resource for every political campaign. Susannah understands and can connect with this community. 

20102015

Freelance Web Developer

Created websites for private clients. Worked with a developer to carry out client's vision, creating content and coordinating design. Susannah understands how to do search engine optimization and understands the limits of SEO. A good well-told story is better and more likely to go viral and gain traction than the best SEO. Recent jobs include:

20032009

Reporter and Editor

The Miami Herald

Multimedia coordinator and part-time assistant city editor. Previously legal affairs and crime reporter, covering the fourth largest judicial circuit in the country. Covered hundreds of cases and more than a dozen high-profile criminal trials. Also worked as the chief crime reporter for Miami-Dade County. Covered hundreds of court cases. 

  • Reporting established the innocence of a man arrested on rape charges by the Miami Police Department. The charges were dropped by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office three days after the first story appeared. 
  • Covered the 2004 coup in Haiti, and trained a local stringer who has since made a career out of journalism; led coverage of the floods of Gonaives in 2004 and was the first international journalist to reach Gonaives after the floods. Also covered the failure of NGOs to implement environmental programs to plant trees - documented how few trees were actually planted. Susannah understands climate change at the worst and most obvious level - how it has effected the environment and economy of the most desertified country in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Led teams that covered hurricanes, wars and Miami's Free Trade of the Americas conference. Susannah is experienced in mustering a team to respond to a crisis. 
  • Dispatched to Baghdad to serve as temporary bureau chief in Knight Ridder's Iraq bureau for six weeks in 2005. Reported as a unilateral (non-imbed) and managed a bureau of more than 10 local staffers. Susannah is comfortable in multi-cultural situations. 
  • Dispatched to New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Led a staff of six reporters and photographers covering the immediate aftermath of the storm and the city's evacuation.
  • Reported from Havana, Cuba in 2009, traveling undercover because of the Castro regime's relationship with The Miami Herald. Susannah has unique experience in the only country in the Western Hemisphere where almost no one has worked. 
20002003

Foreign Correspondent

The Associated Press

Reported for two years from Bogotá, Colombia, covering the war, economic issues and the presidential elections and for 18 months from the Dominican Republic.

  • Covered the end of the peace process and the announcement by President Andres Pastrana that his military would begin bombing a southern section of his country the size of Switzerland. Within 24 hours, was positioned within the bombing zone and filing to international wire service.
  • Also reported as an imbed with Colombian military, from deep within rebel lines and from within paramilitary lines, cultivating sources on all sides of a complicated conflict.
  • Dispatched to Caracas, Venezuela in the aftermath of the 2002 coup. Covered violent protests in which protesters were shot and killed. 
  • Covered environmental issues and their intersection with the war in Colombia - and how the environment was threatened by the war.
  • Ran the AP's office in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for 18 months, supervising four reporting stringers and a photo stringer, and covering the presidential election, poverty, international business and health. Broke the story of polio’s return to the Western Hemisphere.
  • Covered the threats to pre-Colombian cave drawings by mining interests, stopping that threat with my stories.
19981999

Freelance Reporter

Bosnia-Hercegovina

Covered the reconstruction of post-war Bosnia-Hercegovina, reporting primarily from Serb territory. 

Also reported from Turkey, Italy, Portugal, Croatia and Greece. Clients included the San Francisco Chronicle, Cox Newspapers, The Cairo Times, the Jewish Times of London.

Covered the nascent environmental consequences of land mines left over from the civil war. 

19921998

Reporter

The Palm Beach Post

Covered legal affairs, crime, health care, local government, social services, the environment, NASA and education. Stories exposed police corruption and forced a private health care company serving local jails to refund more than $4 million to Medicaid for illegal billing. 

1991

Reporter

El Mercurio de Santiago

Reported and wrote in Spanish for the largest newspaper in Chile, covering a variety of topics, from the death of the country's only elephant to judicial reform after the ouster of General Augusto Pinochet.

Academic Experience

Advising and Teaching

2009-2015, Faculty Advisor to The Barry Buccaneer, the student newspaper at Barry University. The Buccaneer went from an almost defunct publication to winning state-wide and Southeast regional awards in three years.

    • Trained students who went on to win awards for design, feature photography, news photography, sports photography and feature writing from both the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
    • Helped the students increase their community's engagement with the newspaper. Circulation increased 80 percent in response to demand from the student body.
    • Taught most of the journalism classes offered at Barry between 2009 and 2015, including the all-important Introduction to Journalism, plus 300-level special seminars and the journalism practicum. Developed the syllabus for all classes.
      • Member of the Board of Advisers to the Student Press Law Center – the oldest organization dedicated to student First Amendment rights, SPLC is affiliated with the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C. The members of the Board of Advisers help SPLC formulate long-term strategic plans, do volunteer and donor outreach and periodically volunteer as advisers to help in specific situations involving threats to student press freedom.

    Education

    May 2014

    M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction

    Goucher College, Towson, Maryland

    Winner of the Christine White Award in writing, as judged by Lee Gutkind, founder of the journal Creative Nonfiction. 

    1992

    AB in History and Latin American Studies

    Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York
    1990

    Exchange Student

    La Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, Valparaiso, Chile

    Awards

      • 2014 Awarded a fellowship to study the coverage of aging at Columbia University - The Age Boom Academy
      • 2014 Awarded a fellowship to study multimedia journalism education at the University of Texas El Paso, sponsored by Dow Jones, Inc.
      • 2007 Awarded a fellowship to study civil law by the American Board of Trial Advocates.
      • 2005 Finalist, Livingston Award for young journalists.
      • 2005 Part of a team, Second Place, International Reporting, Society of Professional Journalists, for coverage of the coup in Haiti and the government’s response to deadly floods.
      • 2005 Part of a team, Second Place, International Reporting, National Association of Black Journalists for coverage of overthrow of Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti.
      • 1995 Second place, Crime Writing, The Florida Press Club.
      • 1994 Second place, Crime Writing, The Florida Press Club.

    Publications

    75 Years of Innovation in Compassionate Senior Care; The Miami Jewish Health Systems Story (working book title). Editorial Director, 152-page hard-cover coffee table-style book with a YouTube trailer series about the largest senior care facility in the Southeast. Publication scheduled for October 2016. Responsible as Editorial Director for the entire production process, from writing the text to scheduling photo and video shoots and coordinating with the designer and copy editors to get the book laid out and ready for publication and the trailers edited. Directing the publication involves working with multiple share-holders, the executive team and the Board of Directors. 

    A few recent Columbia Journalism Review articles:

    Other work by Susannah Nesmith

    *This is only a small sample of Susannah Nesmith’s work. More available upon request. Many are subscriber only, including work done on Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point power plant for Planning magazine and work done for Horticulture magazine about new hybrid tomatoes being developed by University of Florida scientists. 

    Skills

    Fluent in written and spoken Spanish - able to do broadcast interviews in Spanish and English.

    Trained in a variety of publishing softwares and platforms, including InDesign, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Audacity and the Wordpress web publishing platform.