About AHCJ: General News

'Aging' joins Core Curriculum topics for journalists Date: 01/10/12

Contact: Len Bruzzese, AHCJ, 573-884-5606

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Association of Health Care Journalists has rolled out another Core Curriculum topic on its website. “Aging” is the second in a series of core topic subject areas making up the curriculum. Aging is one of at least a dozen key subject areas the organization believes today’s health journalists will need to master to cover the beat well.

In the past year, the first of 78 million Baby Boomers began reaching the age of 65. The demographics point to an increased need for journalists to pay attention to the special health needs of seniors and the tremendous ripple effect that moves in senior care and economics will have on all of us, said Len Bruzzese, executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

While AHCJ’s website already provides some of the best reference, education and training materials available to journalists on the topic of aging, the new pages will offer a more central and cataloged collection of materials on the topic, with the practical daily guidance of a lead editor who specializes in the topic.

Each specialty topic page includes glossaries, key concepts, reporting tip sheets, weekly blog items, first-person stories by fellow journalists, videos, data and more. The topic home page serves as a launch pad to more resources on the healthjournalism.org site and elsewhere.

Colorado-based writer Judith Graham is AHCJ’s topic leader on aging. She produces reporting guides, seeks out reliable resources, assigns stories and blogs regularly. She works with Pia Christensen, AHCJ’s managing editor/online services, to find the latest material, edit contributions and make the site as easy to navigate as possible. The resources can be found at healthjournalism.org/aging.

“We are excited to expand and showcase our best resources for health reporters,” Christensen said. “The Core Curriculum project is one more way to support journalists and improve coverage of these important issues.”

The creation of the aging pages was made possible by support from The Commonwealth Fund and the John A. Hartford Foundation. The funders agreed reporters could use more help in reporting the myriad stories of aging. Although the foundations provided funding, they did not seek to influence any of the materials on the pages, Bruzzese said.

The first core topic, which debuted last month, was health reform. Other topics on the horizon include oral health, medical studies, hospitals, social determinants and more.

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With more than 1,200 members across the United States and around the globe, its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism provide training, resources and a professional home for journalists. Offices are based at the Missouri School of Journalism.