Category Archives: Health journalism

Powerful Alzheimer’s narrative nets radio documentary award

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com, Practical Diabetology, Home Care Technology report and on HealthStyles Radio (WBAI-FM, NYC). She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, NYC, and a co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

When done well, there may be no better medium for storytelling than radio. When vivid narrative is paired powerful audio, “There’s something about sound that puts our imaginations to work, making us more active participants in the story we’re hearing,” as journalism professor Casey Frechette wrote recently.

A 25-minute radio documentary,  “Living well with dementia – a personal journey” from journalist Pieter Droppert provides a vivid example of radio’s power for storytelling. The piece won first prize for Best Radio Documentary in the 2014 UK Broadcast Journalism Training Council student journalism awards.

Alzheimer's Walk 2013, Atlanta, GA

Image by Susumu Komatsu via flickr.

We are introduced to Droppert’s mother, Audrey, whose disease has progressed to the stage where she no longer recognizes him. We also meet Tommy Dunne, who talks about life with early-onset dementia, and hear from experts who are working to increase awareness of this devastating disease and improve quality of life for those requiring nursing home care.

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Contest entries provide insights, education into reporting

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

One of the most inspiring parts of my job comes every spring: That’s when I get to see the winning entries in the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

Often they are pieces I’ve seen over the previous year – many of which I’ve blogged or tweeted about or we’ve had the reporters write about their work for us. But there are always a few surprises that I had missed when they were published or aired.

Andrew Holtz, a health news veteran and longtime contest judge, has had the same experience. “Like most AHCJ members, I follow health news closely. Still, several of the entries surprised me. Not only were they delightful pieces of journalism, they revealed stories I hadn’t known,” Holtz said in an email. Continue reading

New funding will allow HealthNewsReview.org to resume, expand

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Gary Schwitzer

Gary Schwitzer

AHCJ member Gary Schwitzer has announced that the website he publishes, HealthNewsReview.org, has received a two-year grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The site, known for its systematic reviews and ratings of news stories about health care, had been funded since 2005 by the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation but lost its funding July 1, 2013. Continue reading

D.C. journalists gather for annual holiday celebration

Phil Galewitz

About Phil Galewitz

Phil Galewitz, a senior correspondent at Kaiser Health News, helps lead AHCJ's Washington, D.C., chapter.

In  one of the best attended D.C. chapter events, nearly 50 health journalists, along with several industry and government officials, gathered at The Watergate in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 4 to toast the holiday season.

The National Journal and its health reporters,  Sophie Novack and Sam Baker, hosted the event at their offices overlooking The Kennedy Center. Journalists from The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Politico, Kaiser Health News, The Huffington Post and U.S. News & World Reports were among those in attendance.

Senior communications officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The White House , PhRma and the National Pharmaceutical Council gathered at the chapter event which featured beer from Belgium and the greater Washington, D.C., area. There was no formal program. The event allowed journalists to network with one another and industry and government officials.

In sad, compelling stories, journalists are documenting a mental health care system in crisis

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Jan Bommes via Flickr

Photo: Jan Bommes via Flickr

Imagine the outcry if patients with cancer or any other chronic condition lacked standard, appropriate care. Such ill treatment would not be tolerated.

Yet the U.S. health care system routinely fails to provide basic care to Americans with mental illness, says Patrick J. Kennedy, a former congressman from Rhode Island and co-founder of One Mind, an organization seeking new treatments for neurologic and psychiatric diseases of the brain.

For a series of articles in USA Today, Liz Szabo quoted Kennedy on mental health care in America: “The failure to provide treatment and supportive services to people with mental illness – both in the community and in hospitals – has overburdened emergency rooms, crowded state and local jails and left untreated patients to fend for themselves on city streets.”

The burden of inadequate mental health care falls on individuals and families, but also on emergency rooms, hospitals, jails and other institutions, making this topic well worth the rich and deep coverage Szabo and other journalists have committed to it. Such coverage is important, as reporters have found in Colorado, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, and it can be rewarding because it forces journalists to confront and explain some most challenging health care issues in our society. Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ. All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.

  • Yngrid Fuentes, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Berkeley, Calif.
  • Noelia Gonzalez, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Berkeley, Calif. (@noeliagmo)
  • Stacey Naggiar, associate producer, NBC News, New York (@sjnaggiar)
  • Naomi Nishihara, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Berkeley, Calif. (@ncnishihara)
  • Brian Rinker, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, San Francisco, (@_thebrink)
  • Leah Rose, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, San Francisco (@leahrosita)
  • Anne Saker, staff writer, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati (@apsaker)
  • Gabriel Sanchez, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Berkeley, Calif. (@gabejsanchez)
  • Pallavi Somusetty, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Oakland, Calif. (@chandifilms)
  • Daniel Steiner, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, San Francisco, (@hararuk)
  • Mara Van Ells, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Berkeley, Calif.
  • Vanessa Walker, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Vallejo, Calif. (@vaneswalker)
  • Nicole West, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, Berkeley, Calif. (@nicole_west)

If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ. All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.

  • Kristen Harris, student, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
  • Amy Umble, health care reporter, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va. (@aumble)
  • Beth E. Kutscher, reporter, Modern Healthcare, Brentwood, Tenn. (@mhbkutscher)
  • Denise Morris, reporter, San Angelo Standard-Times, San Angelo, Texas
  • Jayne E. O’Donnell, reporter, USA Today, McLean, Va. (@jayneodonnell)
  • Ryan White, contributing editor for content, ReportingOnHealth.org, Los Angeles

If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.

Students find new angles to cover at free dental clinic

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Julie Drizin

Julie Drizin

The Journalism Center on Children & Families, formerly the Casey Journalism Center, is scheduled to close at the end of the year. Over the past 20 years, JCCF, based at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, has worked to help reporters do a better job of telling the stories of vulnerable people.

Now funding is running out, as JCCF’s director Julie Drizin explained in her announcement: “The College has concluded that this Center is not sustainable in the current economic climate.”

The center has offered grants, fellowships and other resources that have resulted in deeper coverage of health, justice and economic issues as they relate to children and families. In keeping with the center’s mission, Drizin has taught an undergraduate class at the college of journalism. Recently, she gathered a team of student reporters to cover a free two-day dental clinic sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equity.

The student’s coverage of the 100-chair clinic resulted in a compelling assortment of stories that are packaged together on the JCCF website as part of the “On The Beat” feature. One of the most striking aspects of the students’ reporting is the variety of angles they managed to find while all covering the same event – angles that professional journalists might find useful.

In this Q&A for AHCJ, Drizin offers insights into how, as a teacher, she turned this free dental clinic into a window on the human condition for her class. She reflects upon the tradition of advocacy journalism. And she shares the best piece of advice she offered to her students as they headed out to cover the event.

Five journalists receive 2015 Health Care Performance fellowships

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance The Association of Health Care Journalists has awarded five journalists AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance for work to be completed in 2015. The program, in its fifth year, is meant to help journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.

The fellowship program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, is intended to give experienced print, broadcast and online reporters an opportunity to concentrate on the performance of health care systems – or significant parts of those systems – locally, regionally or nationally. The fellows are able to examine policies, practices and outcomes, as well as the roles of various stakeholders.

The 2015 fellows will be:

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Journalist offered money to cover Alzheimer’s briefing

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

A representative of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, which treats and researches Alzheimer’s disease, has issued invitations to cover an hour-long briefing hosted by its principal scientist.

Image by Logan Campbell via flickr.

Image by Logan Campbell via flickr.

The lure?

“Participants will receive $100 for their commitment to write about the impact of Alzheimer’s and what readers can do to help combat the disease.”

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