The National Health Journalism Fellowships program takes place from July 14-July 18 and offers journalists an opportunity to explore the intersection between community health, health policy, and the nation's growing diversity. Reporting projects are supported with a $2,000 grant to each Fellowship recipient. The program pays all travel and hotel costs.
This Fellowship is open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media through the United States, including freelancers. Applicants do not need to be full-time health reporters, but should have a demonstrated interest in health issues, broadly defined to include the health of communities (see more below). We prefer that applicants have a minimum of three years of professional experience; many have decades. Freelancers should earn the majority of their income from journalism. Applications from ethnic media journalists are strongly encouraged. Applicants proposing collaborative projects between mainstream and ethnic news outlets are given preference, as are applicants who have arranged for co-publication or co-broadcast in both mainstream and ethnic news outlets. Applicants must be based in the United States. Students are ineligible. Please contact us at CAHealth [at] usc [dot] edu if you have questions about your eligibility.
Click here to learn more about our 2012 National Health Journalism Fellows.
Click here to read what the 2012 National fellows wrote about their planned projects.
The National Health Journalism Fellowships program offers journalists an opportunity to explore the intersection between community health, health policy, and the nation's growing diversity.
This program will be especially valuable for journalists interested in topics related to “Health and Place,” or how neighborhood and work environments impact health and life expectancy. As part of that exploration, our Fellows will see firsthand how race, ethnicity, and class influence health with trips out in the field from our conference home base, Los Angeles, an international city that has been called a "proving ground" for a multicultural society. California has the largest numbers of Asian and Latino residents in the nation, and many of the health challenges and opportunities that accompany changing demographics have been debated and legislated here.
Reporters and editors also will gain insights on how to cover health reform at a time when dramatic change seems inevitable. This spring, the political calculus in presidential campaigns and state policy circles will be altered irrevocably by an expected U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s national health reform plan.
During field trips and seminars, fellows hear from respected investigative journalists and leaders in community health, health policy, and medicine. They go home with a deeper understanding of current public health and health policy initiatives and gain insight into the larger picture of colliding interests and political battles over health policy. Participants also explore ways to document — through data, interactive maps, and innovative storytelling techniques — the health inequities in their local communities. Hands-on workshops also provide fellows with new sources, practical reporting tips, and multimedia strategies to reach a broader digital audience.
For more information, contact Martha Shirk at CAHealth [at] usc [dot] edu.
Here are some highlights of the National Health Journalism Fellowship, which took place July 22-26, 2012 in Los Angeles.
- In the keynote address on July 22, Gregory Warner, formerly a senior reporter for American Public Media’s Marketplace show, shared some of the storytelling innovations that have made him one of the most creative reporters on the health beat, including the use of video cartoons.
- Policy analysts, journalists, and doctors on the front line explained what the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act means for the future of health care reform. The first panel featured Larry Levitt, executive director for the Kaiser Initiative on Health Reform and Private Insurance; Sarah Kliff, a health reporter for The Washington Post; and Martha King, health program group director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. A second panel featured Mary Agnes Carey, a veteran reporter for Kaiser Health News and Dr. Marcia Sablan, a longtime primary care physician in Fresno County, discussing what challenges health care will face after the dust has settled over the decision.
- Los Angeles and Long Beach regularly turn up on lists of the most polluted cities in the United States, and one of the reasons is the air pollution generated by the movement of goods from their huge ports to points inland. Fellows heard about the health effects of air pollution and efforts to mitigate it from a panel that included S. David Freeman, former president of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners; Edward Avol, deputy director of the Children’s Health Study; Robert Kanter, managing Director of environmental affairs & planning for the Port of Long Beach and Kari Lydersen, a freelance journalist who has written extensively about the issue. Afterwards, fellows took a harbor tour of the ports and a bus tour of Wilmington, a nearby community that is impacted by port-related traffic.
- Pioneering reporters and news teams have come up with novel approaches to ensure that an investigative or explanatory project has impact, engaging in outreach activities and collaborations to engage with the community and make sure that policymakers take notice of their work. 2011 National Fellow Kate Long of the Charleston Gazette shared her paper’s strategy of building “sustained outrage” over West Virginia’s high obesity rate, the topic of her 2011National Fellowship project. Emily Miller, policy and government affairs coordinator for the Chicago-based Better Government Association, talked about what she does to make sure that BGA’s investigative journalism results in more effective public policies.
- Is sugar the primary culprit behind the nation’s obesity epidemic? Even as the nation’s obesity and diabetes rates soar, researchers are divided on the cause. But some think that sugar’s empty calories warrant regulatory actions such as New York City’s imminent ban on supersized soft drinks. Fellows heard from one of the most outspoken researchers on sugar, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the UCSF School of Medicine; as well as a spokesman for the beverage industry. Maureen O’Hagan, a Seattle Times reporter whose 2010 National Fellowship project on efforts to combat obesity won a prestigious James Beard Award, rounded out the panel.
- In a second session on the issue, Duff Wilson, an investigative reporter for Reuters, talked about the influence of lobbyists and campaign contributions on Congress as it weighed various proposals over the last few years to reduce sugar, salt and fat in food marketed to children, which he and a colleague detailed in a special report in 2012.
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