Vaida to lead newest AHCJ core topic effort: infectious diseases

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.

Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida, an independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., will lead AHCJ’s newest core topic on infectious diseases.

She will be guiding AHCJ members to the resources they need to cover the many aspects of covering infectious diseases through blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other material. The core topic area of healthjournalism.org will feature a glossary, a more lengthy explanation of key concepts, shared wisdom from other reporters, story ideas and more.

She will write tip sheets and background briefs, ask other journalists to share their experiences, host webcasts and curate lists of resources for journalists. Her blog posts for Covering Health will recognize important reporting on infectious diseases and outbreaks and offer journalists information about what to look for and what to steer clear of in their reporting.

Vaida (@barav) has been a journalist for more than 25 years and a freelancer since 2011. She has worked for the National Journal, Agence France-Presse and Bloomberg News and has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows.

She recently wrote an in-depth report for CQ Researcher titled “Pandemic Threat: Is the world prepared for the next outbreak?

She has written extensively about health care policy and the Affordable Care Act as a contributing writer with Kaiser Health News. Her stories on the business and legal issues raised by health reform, as well as special interest influence on health care policy, have been published in the McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, National Public Radio, Politico, and the Washington Post.

“Bara’s experience and enthusiasm for this topic will serve our members well as they navigate the accelerating number of disease outbreaks which need to be put into context for their readers, viewers and listeners,” said Len Bruzzese, executive director of AHCJ.

The creation of the infectious diseases core topic is being made possible by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, based in New York. The funders agreed reporters could use more help in reporting on infectious diseases. Although the organization is providing funding, it has not sought to influence any of the materials on the pages, Bruzzese said.

While there are hundreds of health and health care-related topics covered in news and feature stories every day, the Association of Health Care Journalists believes there is a core set of topics that today’s health journalists will need to master to cover the beat well.

Healthjournalism.org is home to thousands of pages of information, data and brilliant story examples. In an effort to curate this information into a curriculum of sorts for fellow journalists, the association launched a Core Topic effort using “topic champions” – lead editors – from the membership to shape this material into practical guidance in covering stories on those topics.

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

If you have suggestions for Vaida, questions you’d like to see answered or examples of good reporting on infectious diseases, please send them to bara@healthjournalism.org.

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