In a significant loss for the Providence Journal, one of its most expert and experienced beat reporters, medical writer Felice Freyer, is leaving in early June to take a job at The Boston Globe.
As her ProJo bio aptly states, "Felice J. Freyer covers every aspect of health care and medicine, always with the goal of making complex topics understandable. Her news stories reveal events and trends in policy, insurance, research, health care delivery and more, and her features explore how these changes affect individuals."
Freyer says she'll be reporting for the Globe's healthcare team. focusing initially on health policy and mental health. She says she's taking the reporting spot formerly held by Chelsea Conaboy and was asked to apply for the position by the Globe's health and science editor. "It kind of came my way," Freyer says. "It was too great an opportunity not to take it. It's not that I was looking for a job."
Freyer joins a string of other former ProJo staffers who now work at the Globe, including political editor Cynthia Needham; casino beat reporter Mark Arsenault, Spotlight Team member Jon Saltzman, and Washington bureau chief Chris Rowland.
Freyer has covered the health beat in Rhode Island for more than 25 years, compiling a rich storehouse of institutional knowledge and a network of sources. She was also an early adaptor to new media, becoming a standout on Twitter and Facebook well before management on Fountain Street in 2012 encouraged staffers to use social media.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Freyer came to the Journal as a copy editor in 1982, became a reporter in 1985, and has served as medical writer since 1989.
She has written an every other week "Health Insight" column over the last year or so that has helped to contextualize and make understandable complex healthcare topics. She has won a number of reporting awards, and according to her ProJo bio, Freyer "is treasurer of the Association of Health Care Journalists and vice chair of its Right to Know Committee."
Freyer has also been active in the past with the Providence Newspaper Guild, which represents newsroom and some other employees on Fountain Street.
Freyer's departure comes as the ProJo is up for sale by the A.H. Belo Corporation of Dallas. Like other newspapers, the Journal is facing shrinking circulation and ad revenue.
This post has been updated.