The older population is growing and becoming more diverse

Photo by Street Phonicz Photography via nappy.co

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has published its profile of older Americans 2021, an annual summary of critical statistics related to the older population. The updated report shows an older population that’s increasing in size and diversity.

There’s a wealth of data in this report journalists can use as a starting point to report on local and state social services, community programs, Medicaid expenditures, housing, transportation and myriad other issues affecting older adults — defined by the Administration on Aging as those 65 and older.

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Tips to help journalists cope with pandemic and other stress 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska via pexels.

As we enter year three of the pandemic, many journalists continue to search for strategies to help them cope with mental health fallout from both experiencing and covering COVID-19.

Several recent surveys show journalists during the pandemic have experienced high rates of symptoms associated with post traumatic distress syndrome (PTSD) like anxiety, depression, flashbacks, negative changes in thinking or mood and increased reactivity to emotionally charged events.

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Tips for finding great interview subjects on social media 

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Editors often want people with lived experience in stories. The question is, where to find them? I spoke with four freelance reporters about their experience using social media to find “real” people to interview. You can find their advice in this tip sheet under the Pitching, Reporting & Writing tab on the Freelance Center. Here is a preview of what they had to say.

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AHCJ’s new patient safety core topic leader is veteran health care reporter

Mary Chris Jaklevic

Mary Chris Jaklevic, a Chicago-based independent health care journalist with nearly 30 years of experience, has joined AHCJ as its new patient safety core topic leader.

The former AHCJ board member will build upon the solid patient safety content produced by Kerry Dooley Young, who served in the role from May 2021-October 2022.

Jaklevic, who grew up near Detroit and moved to Chicago in 1994, has covered health care finance, clinical care and medical research for both expert and consumer audiences. She says her awareness of patient safety issues expanded when she worked at Healthnewsreview.org, where she and her team discovered that only 37% of news stories adequately addressed the harms of medical interventions such as drugs and devices. That’s when she decided to focus more of her reporting on this important topic.

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Journalists expose significant problems with Medicare Advantage plans

Majority report from US Senate Finance Committee finds seniors subject to marketing scams from health insurers.

Seniors signing up for Medicare Advantage (MA) during open enrollment (which ends Dec. 7) have more reasons to worry now that reporters at Kaiser Health News, MedPage Today and elsewhere have continued to uncover significant problems with these private managed care plans. 

During open enrollment, reporters have a responsibility to explain the problems seniors may face with MA plans and to warn them about deceptive marketing practices.

And health care journalists should ask officials at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) why it sets higher rates for health insurance brokers selling MA plans than the rates it sets for brokers to register seniors in Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap) plans that might be more appropriate for their needs.  Continue reading