Search form


How to Apply

2015 California Health Data Fellowship

Dates:  December 2-5, 2015

Deadline: 5 p.m.  October 16, 2015

How to Apply: Applicants must join ReportingonHealth and post a profile and photo.

Click on the link to our online application to apply.  The application asks for the following:

  • A personal statement
  • A Fellowship project proposal
  • Three samples of professional work
  • A current resumé
  • A letter of reference
  • An Editor's Checklist signed by a supervising editor and confirming the media outlet's intent to publish or broadcast the Fellowship project
  • A short survey about your familiarity with data tools

Personal Statement (Including Project Proposal) [We recommended that you write this in Word and cut and paste it into the online application]

In no more than 500 words, please describe your health reporting experience. Tell us about the types of health care stories you currently cover (or would like to cover) and why you are interested in attending the Fellowship sessions. Describe your familiarity with datasets and your comfort level with tools such as Excel, MS Access, open-source SQL programs and Tableau Software.  (Lack of familiarity with all of these programs will not disqualify you, though participants will be required to be comfortable with Excel.) Include a description of your publication, broadcast outlet or website, including the size, nature and geographic reach of its audience and how it's measured. (For websites, we require Google analytics or an equivalent.)

In 750 to 1,000 words, summarize  a major domestic data-based health reporting project that you propose to pursue as part of the Fellowship. We are looking for project descriptions that are in-depth and indicate that you have already done some preliminary research. In your description, summarize likely themes, multimedia components and any social media and audience/community engagement strategies you anticipate, such as community forums, interactive digital features, partnerships with other media outlets or community organizations and so on. Tell us what data sources you anticipate using or that you'll be looking for, as well as how you would spend the $1,000 reporting grant. Your proposal should be well researched and should demonstrate that you have done some deep thinking about the relevance of the topic to your community. Preference is given to projects that focus on underserved populations. Journalists at mainstream and ethnic publications who propose a collaborative project will be given priority consideration. If you write or broadcast for a mainstream media outlet and your proposed project deals with health issues that affect an ethnic community, we strongly suggest that you arrange co-publication or co-broadcast in an ethnic media outlet as well. 

Three Samples of Your Work: Submit three samples of your best work. (For work that has only appeared online, please provide working URLs, as well as Word documents or PDFs of the published stories.)  Broadcasters should submit links to working URLs of their online stories or CDs/DVDs. If you are an editor, submit work that you supervised and edited, along with an explanation of your role in shaping the content. If you write in a language other than English or Spanish, we prefer to receive translations of your work. If that is not possible, send a comprehensive two-paragraph summary in English of each story. 

Resumé: Please include a current resumé. Note:  Any misrepresentation that is discovered after you are admitted to the Fellowship will result in your dismissal.

Survey about Your Data Skills

Letter of Reference: Please supply a letter of reference from your assigning editor, producer, or news director that discusses your abilities and potential as a journalist in detail and the newsroom's support for your project. The letter should also confirm the following:

  • That you have discussed your proposed stories with your supervisor or assigning editor.  Please tell us why they are important to the news outlet
  • That the news organization expects to publish or air your stories, assuming they meet its standards
  • That your employer will permit you to attend all Fellowship sessions (disregard if you're a freelancer)

Editor/Story Checklist (download pdf): Download it, complete it, get your assigning editor's signature on it, and scan it into your computer to submit with your online application or FAX it to us at (877) 413-3873. Both freelance and employed journalists must submit written confirmation of a news organization's commitment to publish or air the work resulting from the Fellowship, assuming it meets its standards.

How We Select Fellows:

When choosing Fellows, we consider each candidate's personal and professional accomplishments and potential, as well as the potential contribution of his or her proposed stories or project on the public's understanding of health issues. We value diversity in both our Fellows and their media outlets. We encourage applications from candidates who serve non-English speaking audiences, although our seminars are conducted in English, so Fellows must be fluent in English. 

The Fellowship program will only review complete applications submitted only by the deadline.

Tips for Maximizing Your Chances of Being Selected

  • Think big journalistically. 
  • Provide lots of details about what we can expect from your project.  Provides specifics, such as likely story count and multimedia components. We want to know what will result from our investment in you.
  • We're looking for impact, so tell us what problem your project will expose and what might happen as a result of increased awareness by the public and policymakers.
  • Tell us how you will engage the community with your project.  It's not sufficient any more to just put something out there.  Tell us how you will involve the public both in helping shape your journalism and responding to it.

Fellowship Terms:

All Fellows are expected to:

  • Attend all required workshops.
  • Participate in a "community of Fellows" during workshop sessions
  • Treat other Fellows' works-in-progress as confidential
  • Join and become active in our online community
  • Within six months of the Fellowship's final session, complete  a major reporting project on a domestic health issue (or three substantive articles on health issues).    
  • Provide us with digital copies of all components of your project for publication on ReportingonHealth 
  • Disseminate information from the seminars to colleagues
  • Serve as a mentor and resource to our program as we reach out to other journalists
  • Write at least two posts for about your Fellowship project -- an initial blog post introducing your planned project and a "Lessons from the Field" essay after it has been published or broadcast

 For More Information: In advance of your application, we require a discussion about your project idea with one of our staff members or Senior Fellows. To arrange to talk to us, please email Martha Shirk at [email protected].


The deadline is approaching to apply for our new all-expenses-paid Fellowship in December 2015, which will introduce 10 California journalists to the wealth of health data sources that can inform and elevate their reporting. The Fellowship includes a $1,000 reporting stipend and six months of mentoring.

Twenty-one journalists from around the country are with us in Los Angeles this week for the 2015 National Health Journalism Fellowship. Read about the Fellowship here. 


Member Activities

Anna Romano has shared a blog post

Read it.

Andrea Castillo has shared a fellowship project

Read it.

Ryan White has shared a blog post

Read it.

Vijaya Kumar Seethappa's profile has been updated

Connect with Vijaya Kumar Seethappa

Jenna Flannigan has shared a fellowship project

Read it.
More Member Activities

Follow Us


Reporting on Underserved Communities

How can journalists and foundations collaborate to deepen and improve reporting on underserved communities? Our USC Annenberg School of Journalism program in collaboration with The California Endowment, the Wyncote Foundation and Media Impact Funders, convened 75 leaders from both fields.

Read More »