Home / WINK News Team / Sara Girard

Professional Experience

September 2018 to present: Investigative Reporter at WINK News

Previously worked as a multimedia journalist at WCJB TV20 News, WUFT-TV and WUFT-FM in Gainesville, FL; and as an investigative intern at WPLG Local 10 News in Miami, FL

Member of National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)

Awards & Recognition

2019 Excellence in Broadcast News Award for Transportation / Traffic Series reporting, Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists (FABJ) – “Waiting in the Dark”

2019 NATAS Suncoast Regional Emmy Nomination for Education / Schools News reporting– “Waiting in the Dark”

2019 Young Journalist Award for Broadcast, Press Club of Southwest Florida

2019 Sunshine State Award for Multimedia Feature, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) – “You Are Now Live” (2nd Place)

2019 Excellence in Innovation in TV, Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, RTDNA – “Locked Out Florida”

2018 Awards for Photo Essay & Short Hard News Feature, Florida Associated Press Broadcasters (now FABJ) College Contest

News Philosophy

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” — Ida B. Wells

Hobbies, Interests & Community Involvement

Sara is a big fan of live theater and performing arts, traveling to faraway places, volunteering, playing roller derby, Gator football, spoiling her nieces and nephews, and cuddling up next to her dog Mickey.

Education

Master’s in Mass Communication and Bachelor’s in Telecommunication News from the University of Florida

Go Gators!

Federal unemployment programs end after this weekend

Vital unemployment programs that were put in place nationwide at the start of the pandemic end this weekend and many unemployed people in Florida fear the worst. With the delta variant surge and the eviction moratorium lifted, for some, it’s the only thing keeping a roof over their head and food on the table. Ken […]

Unemployment website launches two-factor authentication causing confusion, frustration

There are now new complications being reported with Florida’s unemployment website plagued by fraud. A change meant to keep your account secure and keep scammers out is confusing people who need to claim their benefits. What’s at issue is a new two-factor authentication log in screen. First, you sign-in with your email and password as […]

SWFL real estate market hit by thieves trying to steal and sell land

A growing problem in Southwest Florida’s hot real estate market is thieves stepping up to steal and sell land that doesn’t belong to them. It almost happened to Realtor Peter Davis. “We were doing everything at that point by an email,” Davis said. It’s a recipe for property fraud. One person claiming to be a […]

‘Dangerous’ seawalls? Naples sues property owners, turns out, City owns them

Over the last three years, hundreds of thousands of tax dollars were spent by the City of Naples to sue property owners along seawalls they said were in disrepair. As it turns out, the City owned the seawalls all along and they ultimately settled. It’s all about a question that dates back to roughly 2012, […]

Homeowner Assistance

State emails out new tool to unlock unemployment accounts after cyberattack

A cyberattack is causing more issues with the unemployment system. The state has released a new tool to combat it, not long after a data breach that’s kept thousands of people from their benefits. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says its new tool will help people verify their identities to get back in. It’s called […]

Few primary care doctors, older population leave SWFL ‘medically underserved’

There are not enough primary care doctors to go around, and that’s just one piece of the puzzle for why all of Southwest Florida is considered “medically underserved.” It’s been this way for years, and at the rate we’re going, Florida is projected to have the second-largest physician shortage in the country by 2030. According […]

Homeowner Assistance

Fraud victims can’t get through to state after crooks steal their unemployment benefits

UPDATE: After this story aired, a representative from DEO responded with the following statement in an email. “The Reemployment Assistance program currently has 22 staff members dedicated to investigating Reemployment Assistance fraud. This does not include other areas within the Department, such as the Office of Inspector General, that also investigates Reemployment Assistance fraud. Additionally, […]

Lawyers plan to sue Florida for cutting off federal unemployment early

Florida lawyers are getting ready to file a lawsuit against the state for cutting off extra federal unemployment money early. Gov. Ron DeSantis and 25 other Republican governors stopped allowing the $300 a week the feds offered to supplement regular unemployment payments, called the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC). The governor said it would […]

Thieves steal and sell French woman’s Southwest Florida property

UPDATE: Since this story aired, WINK News learned the Elseroads paid $7,800 for the Cape Coral property, while the current assessed value is $8,200. David Elseroad said he paid taxes for the property for the year and he is still hoping to move to the area, but has not been given much information on what […]

Floridians remain frustrated with state unemployment system

Widespread problems are coming from Florida Department of Economic Opportunity as people continue to battle the unemployment system. The state promised things were getting better, since the pandemic overwhelmed the website and kept people from their payments. It might feel like a broken record at this point, but the question remains: How is this still […]