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Award-winning journalist Billy Jean Louis, who has covered a variety of beats in several newsrooms for nearly a decade, joins the Key Biscayne Independent as senior editor, Miami Fourth Estate President Tony Winton announced Tuesday. 

Jean Louis will continue to provide the Independent with award-winning coverage while developing a new sister newspaper, the Liberty City Independent. 

Jean Louis  reported on litigation for Bloomberg Law, diversity, equity, and inclusion for The Baltimore Sun, health and education for The Baxter (Ark.) Bulletin, hospitality for the South Florida Business Journal, and education for Charlottesville Tomorrow

“We’re delighted to have Billy join the staff and help develop hyperlocal news in Liberty City,” Winton said. “We’re grateful to Report for America for selecting our newsroom for this project.” 

The 33-year-old Jean Louis moved to Miami from Haiti when he was a teenager.

“I am honored to help lead the Miami Fourth Estate toward its goal and its community-focused mission,” Jean Louis said., “I consider being a journalist to be a calling rather than a job.” 

Jean Louis combined data and everyday people’s lived experiences to produce strong narrative reporting. He also served as a correspondent for radio stations in Arkansas and Virginia while working full-time as a print journalist.

A graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, he has received awards from the Associated Press Media Editors and the Virginia Press Association for his education reporting. He’s fluent in French and Haitian Creole. 

But there are also personal reasons for his pursuit of a journalism career.

He was first drawn to reporting when he was exposed to the 2004 coup d’état of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in which many civilians were killed. 

“At the time, the Haitian press did not act as a strong watchdog,” Jean Louis said. “This event left me with a feeling that if I became a journalist, I would be able to expose the kind of corruption that was happening in Haiti and around the world.” 

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