Hazel Becker

Independent Journalist

Washington, D.C.

Hazel Becker

I'm a retired journalist in Washington, D.C. After nearly 30 years working for BNA publications (now part of Bloomberg), I enjoyed the freedom of freelancing, covering subjects ranging from personal finance to alternative energy. My mainstays as a freelancer have been writing about insurance and taxes, reporting from specialized data sets, and consulting on new products and processes for publishers and nonprofit organizations.


Score one for the freelancer! (A cautionary tale...)

This is the story of a freelance journalist who went up against a national publisher and won. The individual facts and circumstances are not uncommon.
The Independent Journalist Link to Story

Covering Doctors’ Prior Exposure Vexes Some Healthcare RRGs

A change in the U.S. healthcare landscape is causing some risk retention group members to rethink the way they provide malpractice insurance to physicians whose practices have been acquired by or affiliated with hospital systems. The problem arises during the transition, when physicians with claims-made medical professional liability (MPL) policies become employed or affiliated with a hospital that provides coverage to medical personnel through a captive RRG. The question affects not only the physician, who becomes liable for any claims filed for events that occurred before the hospital affiliation, but also the hospital that provides his or her new MPL policy, according to Larry Smith, vice president for risk management at Maryland-based MedStar Health and president of MedStar Liability Limited Insurance Co., a RRG. Smith told a meeting of the Captive Insurance Council of the District of Columbia (CIC-DC) in October that the issue has become more prominent since passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as hospital systems bring in more physician practices to create accountable care organizations that qualify for special shared savings and other programs under Medicare (see RRR, October 2011). Smith cited data indicating that by 2013 77% of all physicians will be employed by an insurance company or healthcare system.
Risk Retention Reporter Link to Story


With the cost of electricity going up and the cost of solar equipment going down, some self-storage owners are installing solar systems at their facilities. Solar industry experts expect this trend to pick up steam in the next few years. Non-residential installations of photovoltaic (PV) panels, which turn sunlight into electricity, have grown over the last two years. One factor in this growth has been federal and state incentive programs aimed at encouraging companies to move toward greater use of clean and renewable energy. The upward trend in prices of electricity and fossil fuels has added a financial incentive to the equation.
MiniStorage Messenger Link to Story

Best Prospects for Gasification: 2nd-Generation Biofuels, Emerson Believes

When Emerson Process Management started concentrating on gasification a few years ago, the company thought the future for the technology was in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants. Today, because of the high costs of IGCC development, Emerson sees the most potential for the technology in second-generation biofuels projects that can be brought on line which much lower capital costs, company officials told Gasification News in a recent interview. Emerson started looking at building its gasification business about five years ago, according to Al Novak, Emerson Process Management’s director for the Alternative Fuels Industry. Novak was in the company’s Power & Water Solutions group at the time, and “it looked like IGCC was going to be the next big thing,” he said. “But as we dug into it, it became apparent gasification had better economics when used to produce products other than electricity.” Novak said the technology addressed energy security and supply issues by using domestic resources, such as coal, “while providing a better environmental profile.”
Gasification News Link to Story

Angel Investing: High Risk, Potentially High Return

If you are thinking of becoming an “angel” investor – putting money into early-stage, high-growth companies even before venture capitalists are involved – you have a lot to learn. One way to learn much of what you need to know is to join an angel investment group.
Nuwire Investor Link to Story


Hazel Becker

I have written for, edited, and developed publications, primarily for businesses and non-profits with niche audiences. I’ve worked on publications dealing with tax and accounting, banking and insurance, financial planning and investments, and environmental regulation—just to name a few subjects. I’ve edited and written for business-to-business publishers, community newspapers, magazines, websites, and specialty publications made to the client’s specifications.

My specialty as a business writer has been to find information that's relevant to my client's niche and then write about it in a way that makes the information accessible to the audience. I use data charts and graphs along with words to make my articles understandable to the client’s audience.

As a publication consultant and product developer, I brought skills of an astute researcher with a facility for assessing information needs and identifying sources to fill those needs. I have helped publishers focus on their audience and used my intuitive and responsive interviewing skills to gather information, whether for market studies, prototypes, or established publications.

I'm an active member of the Society of Professional Journalists, a former board member and chair of SPJ's Freelance Community. I believe independent workers will make up an increasing share of the journalism workforce in the next few years. Freelancing is hard, often lonely work. I'm committed to helping others succeed in the gig economy -- particularly mid-career news people who have been laid off and new reporters who need to figure out how to do their jobs outside of newsroom environments.



  • New publication development
  • News writing
  • Feature writing
  • Data analysis
  • Copy editing