The Center for Health Reporting, based at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, partners with news organizations across the state to shine a light on California health policy issues. Since its inception, the center has produced 17 projects on everything from the health risks of wood-burning stoves to the recession's toll on mental health.
The website – www.centerforhealthreporting.org – includes an archive of nearly 200 articles and scores of photographs and multimedia projects.
The CHCF Center for Health Reporting represents a new form of journalism – foundation-funded and university-based – that is filling a critical need in the news ecosystem, especially as the news staffs of mainstream media shrink.
A staff of six veteran journalists based at USC combines forces with reporters working at newspapers and broadcast outlets in California to produce projects that speak directly to the health concerns of local communities. These stories focus not just on problems but on solutions and policy choices.
Editor-in-chief David Westphal (pictured, right) said the center's first year of operation demonstrated that a foundation-funded, university-affiliated news organization could form effective partnerships with mainstream news organizations. "Every single editor or news director we've talked with has been interested in collaborating," he said.
The center has partnered with newspapers both big and small – from large metropolitan papers such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee, to smaller ones such as the Merced Sun-Star and Chico Enterprise Record.
"We've had fabulous partners," said Westphal. "Some of these news staffs have been hit hard by downsizing. But they've all mobilized with us to create some very powerful journalism."
Beyond serving as an archive of the center's work, the new website encourages viewers to participate in its journalism – by joining the discussion about project stories and making suggestions for future story ideas.
As it begins its second year, the CHCF Center for Health Reporting will be expanding beyond its initial-year focus on newspapers. With the hiring of multimedia reporter Lauren Whaley, the center will be teaming up with broadcast outlets, particularly public radio, as well as online community news sites.
The center is funded by a three-year, $3.285 million grant from the California HealthCare Foundation, a nonpartisan policy institute based in Oakland, Calif.
For more information, contact David Westphal at 626-457-4097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.