Citizen journalists assist with health insurance story

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 AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Journalists should take advantage of the wisdom of their readers, according to a post on Cover Business Better, the blog of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

Bernie Kohn details how Danielle Ivory of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund used citizen journalism to research a story about how many health insurance claims are denied and why. Her research, including “a blizzard of FOIA requests,” had yielded little, so she posted an item online asking for leads on documents or cases of unfair denials.

As Kohn reports, the effort resulted in more than 600 e-mails to Ivory and helped her track down a case that had become notorious among Kaiser Permanente’s claims department. She used that information and her new contacts to track down the story.

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