Author Archives: Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's president and a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

AHCJ launches search for new executive director as Smiley resigns

Andrew Smiley

Andrew Smiley, AHCJ’s executive director who led the association through the challenges of a continuing pandemic and critical personnel changes, is resigning effective Jan. 28.

We are grateful for Smiley’s excellent work since he took the post in September 2020. His accomplishments include increasing reserves, helping run a new fellowship program, quickly implementing a virtual platform to offer workshops during the pandemic, and hiring three top-notch staffers — Katherine Reed, director of education and content; Andrea Waner, director of engagement, and Erica Tricarico, managing editor.

Smiley said he had not expected to leave so soon but had been recruited into a “life-changing” new job. As we search for a replacement, the AHCJ board of directors has put in place a transition plan that will keep the association operating smoothly without any changes to our offerings and activities.

Katherine Reed                    Andrea Waner

Reed has agreed to serve as interim executive director and Waner will be interim deputy executive director. Senior Advisor and former Executive Director Len Bruzzese has agreed to increase his time with us, and Jeff Porter, recently retired education director, will assist with conference planning.

As a result, our daily Covering Health blog, our fellowship programs, the annual Excellence in Health Care Journalism awards, and planning for our annual conference will all continue apace. The conference will take place in Austin April 28 – May 1.

I have appointed a search committee, which I am chairing, to look nationwide for a new executive director. Search committee members also include immediate past president Ivan Oransky, former president Karl Stark, vice president Gideon Gil, board member Marlene Harris-Taylor, and Mark Horvit, a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, where AHCJ is based.

I’m expecting many applicants will be drawn to the opportunity to lead a vibrant organization that supports and educates journalists at a time when our work has never been more important. I urge AHCJ members to spread the word and encourage prospective candidates to submit their applications. To apply for the job, go to https://hrs.missouri.edu/find-a-job/staff, click on “prospective employees” and search for job no. 39998.

Biden administration pledges open access to briefings after AHCJ raises concerns

A spokesman for President Biden’s administration has pledged that any legitimate reporter who signs up with the White House press office will be invited to briefings and provided with embargoed background materials.

The promise came after AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee protested the practice of holding small group briefings with select reporters.

The press official denied that there had been any attempt to exclude people and objected to characterizing the press briefings as “closed.” Instead, he said, the White House press staff is working on updating its mailing lists. Continue reading

AHCJ to track access problems in real time – with your help

trouble getting informationAHCJ’s Right to Know Committee is launching a new strategy for tracking and combating the obstacles that health care reporters confront when seeking information.

Starting today, journalists can quickly and easily report the difficulties they encounter as soon as they occur, by clicking on the “Trouble Getting Information?” link on AHCJ’s homepage (on the right side, under “Advocacy”). Continue reading

AHCJ backs public data about COVID-19 hospitalizations

Hospital

Photo: Norman Mosjos via Flickr

The Association of Health Care Journalists strongly urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to keep public all data related to COVID-19 hospitalizations and to post the numbers as soon as they are available.

The Trump administration ordered hospitals to stop reporting COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send patient information to a central database in Washington, D.C., starting this week.

Continue reading

Journalism groups ask candidates to take a stand on press freedoms

Photo: Rhk111 via Wikimedia Commons

Will the next president respect the rights of a free press? It’s a question vital to democracy, yet rarely posed to candidates.

Hoping to make press freedoms a topic of discussion in the 2020 presidential campaign, the National Press Club’s Journalism Institute collaborated with other groups to develop a questionnaire that was circulated to all the candidates in November. Continue reading