Health journalism training, reporting grants to California journalists

The Center for Health Journalism at USC Annenberg brought 23 California journalists to the campus Sunday for its annual California Fellowship. The all-expenses-paid, competitive six-day training institute provides new ways of thinking about health and nurtures investigative and explanatory reporting projects on health challenges facing Californians.

Each of the journalists will receive reporting grants of $1,000, and five will receive community engagement grants of up to $2,000. All will receive six months of expert mentoring as they report their Fellowship projects.

In partnership with the center, journalists will explore topics including food insecurity in San Jose and the state’s northernmost county; health disparities in three communities in Silicon Valley; the increasing financial and emotional burden of Alzheimer’s disease; public health problems associated with homelessness on the South Coast; the growing statewide shortage of sub-acute nursing home beds; the effects on health and well-being of fires in far northern California and Sonoma County; and substandard housing conditions and related health problems among Napa Valley’s low-income service workers (a collaboration by mainstream and ethnic media journalists). 

The Fellowship, which will run from March 17–22, will explore how neighborhood life, social inequities, race, education and the environment influence health, as well as how recent changes in the health care landscape are affecting Californians. The Fellows will spend a half day at a school-based wellness center, learning about trauma-informed education and another half day at maternity and pediatric clinics where physicians actively screen pregnant and parenting women for mental health problems and direct them for help to community partners.

The program concludes with a full-day briefing, open to all journalists, California Counts: Strategies and Skills for Reporting on the U.S. Census. Among the speakers are James Christy, assistant director of field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau; Ditas Katague, director of California Complete Count; Charley Johnson, Project Lead, Data Integrity Project at Data & Society, Celia Valdez, Director of Outreach and Education at Maternal and Child Health Access and Colin M. Maclay, executive director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Three distinguished data journalists, Angel Kastanis, data reporter, Associated Press, Mary Jo Webster, data editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune and Ben Welsh, data editor, the Los Angeles Times, will provide hands-on training on how to access Census data, and Kristin Muller, chief content officer for Southern California Public Radio, will describe strategies for newsrooms to cover the census.

The Friday U.S. Census briefing is free and open to all journalists at this link.

Since 2005, the Center for Health Journalism has educated more than 900 journalists on the craft and content of health journalism, with an emphasis on the relationship between health and place.  The 2019 California Fellowship is funded by generous grants from the Blue Shield of California Foundation and The California Endowment. 

We are delighted to announce our 2019 California Fellows:

  • Julia Baum, Metro Silicon Valley
  • Allison Behringer, Bodies (podcast), KCRW
  • Kate Bradshaw, Almanac News
  • Almendra Carpizo, The Record (Stockton)
  • Jessica Cejnar, Del Norte Triplicate
  • Raquel Maria Dillon, KQED 
  • April Ehrlich, Jefferson Public Radio (Ashland, OR)
  • Gabriela Fernandez, KVON (Napa)
  • Michael Finch, Sacramento Bee
  • Danielle Fox, KVCR  (San Bernardino)
  • Monica Lopez, Making Contact
  • David Mendez, Easy Reader News (Redondo Beach)
  • Alyssa Jeong Perry, KPCC (Los Angeles)
  • Amy Roost, Critical Frequency Network
  • Nuala Sawyer, SF Weekly
  • Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot (Orange County beach communities)
  • Susie Steimle, KPIX TV (San Francisco)
  • Courtney Teague, Napa Valley Register
  • Debra A. Varnado, The Wave (Los Angeles)
  • Monica Vaughan, The Tribune (San Luis Obispo
  • Gary Walker, Argonaut News (Westside and nearby beach communities
  • Laura Wenus, KALW (San Francisco)
  • Adia White, Northern California Public Media (Santa Rosa)