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Meet Michael Finch II, The Sacramento Bee’s new data journalist

Michael Finch II has joined The Sacramento Bee as a data journalist. He is a Miami native who previously worked at newspapers in Florida and Alabama.
Michael Finch II has joined The Sacramento Bee as a data journalist. He is a Miami native who previously worked at newspapers in Florida and Alabama. The Sacramento Bee

I wrote my first data story seven years ago while working in South Florida about “food deserts” in Palm Beach County. The gist of it really wasn’t that complicated.

But there was something empowering about being able to say exactly where something was and to what degree it was affecting various corners of the community. No one spokesperson, agency official or inside source had to say it — but the numbers did.

In the years since, I’ve taken an interest in writing stories either informed or driven by data.

Working as a health care journalist in Daytona Beach, I’ve written about overdose deaths, drug-addicted mothers and opioid drug-exposed babies; motorcycle fatalities and gaps in mental health. And yes, because it is Florida, a few hurricanes, too.

My goal is to expand those efforts greatly here as a data reporter for The Sacramento Bee. I believe data journalism, at its best, breaks new ground on a subject and shows readers how it was done.

The work is improved when the community tells reporters what it wants to know. So with that in mind, I hope you reach out as often as you’d like so we can talk shop, debate or criticize if you think any of my efforts miss the mark.

I studied political science at Florida International University in Miami, which is also my birthplace. I’ve worked as a journalist in Florida and Alabama after doing four internships in college.

Like most journalists, I really enjoy reading and writing. I’m an often dedicated gym-goer (two visits a day sometimes); I love food, cooking and eating it; and I don’t always watch NFL football games but when I do it’s the Green Bay Packers.

Reach me at mfinch@sacbee.com, 916-321-1805 or on Twitter at @mike_finch2.

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