About Me

My photo
I'm a business journalist and a fiction author. My novel Mute is available now from Silver Leaf Books.

Monday, November 3, 2014

After many years covering banking, it’s time for a change in my beat

This is my last couple weeks on the banking beat. I’m going to make official what I’ve been doing for a while, covering real estate for the South Florida Business Journal. Only this time, it’ll be my main focus and I’ll hand off banking and insurance to a talented reporter.

It was a tough decision for me. Everyone who works with me knows how passionate I am about banking. The dozens of South Florida banks are like my chicks. I’ve followed them starting in 2008 as the recession began, watching some grow, some fall on the dreaded FDIC Friday after 5 p.m. There’s nothing like sitting on “bank death watch” with my obit for the ailing institution all ready to rip.

There’s not nearly as much of that now. Only one Florida bank has failed in 2014. Action hasn’t been lacking, with M&A activity and investigations, plus some heartwarming stories of loan growth. 

As much as I enjoyed this beat, I realized that I can’t advance unless I let it go. If I want to elevate my career, I can’t be married to any beat. I have to embrace new challenges.

That’s where real estate comes in. It’s the headline beat at SFBJ. For the better part of a year it hasn’t been fully staffed. While I’ve filled in with regular real estate stories, I haven’t given it my full attention. That’s about to change.

I’m going to explore this new condo craze and what it means for the local population. I’ll study housing affordability, the rapidly changing neighborhoods and go behind the deals.

Oh, and don’t forget Foreclosure Roundup. I’m not letting that go.

I’m hoping this change will make things better for me all around. Covering all these beats has been way too much work and it’s bled into my evenings. It’s taken away from family. It’s limited the time I can spend working on my next novel, and promoting my recent work Mute.

There’s just one matter to settle before I move on from banking. I’m heading to Miami federal court to cover the SEC vs. Alan Levan.

How’s that for a final salvo?