Author Archives: Heaven Jobe

About Heaven Jobe

Heaven Jobe is a master's student in the health journalism program at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication. She received her bachelor's in literature language and writing from Eastern Michigan University.

Spotlight Q&A with Marlene Harris-Taylor of Ideastream Public Media, Cleveland

Marlen Harris-Taylor, AHCJ Board Member

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

How long have you been an AHCJ member, and who or what inspired you to join? 

I started as a health journalist in 2013 and joined AHCJ about a year after that, when I attended a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. I wanted to increase my knowledge and I heard about AHCJ through an advertisement. 

Where are you from and how far did you travel to this year’s  conference?

I am originally from Toledo, Ohio. I now live and work in Cleveland.

What do you think is the biggest asset of AHCJ and why?

I appreciate the AHCJ conferences because the panels have a mixture of journalists and professionals sharing their expertise. This national meeting brings journalists to a wonderful space to learn.

How have the resources AHCJ provides impacted your career?

One of the wonderful things that AHCJ does year-round is host training sessions. They also provide financial assistance for journalists to attend the sessions which is appreciated. I remember the first training that I attended. It included not only learning, but networking with journalists from across the country.

What keeps you coming back to these conferences? 

One of my favorite parts of the conference is that you always come away with ideas for a new story. At the AHCJ 2022 conference this weekend, I met an African American panelist from Chicago who started a company that assists Black and brown people in health care. Coincidentally, he is looking to expand to Cleveland. You’re learning and getting deeper knowledge, but you’re also getting the immediate benefit of stories that you can write.

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Think outside the box when looking for human sources

Photo by Alex Green via pexels.

It can seem hard for journalists to find people open to sharing personal stories about sensitive topics.

But they can be found just about anywhere that people gather, in person or virtually including on social media, Gofundme pages and grocery stores. But they need to be approached with sensitivity, especially those dealing with trauma who may be particularly uncomfortable talking to reporters.

“Most people have no idea what the news gathering process is like,” said Noah Levey of Kaiser Health News, so it’s important to explain the journalistic process and be patient. It pays off, he said. “With the right person you can convey the complexity of how people actually live.”

The panelists at the April 28 session at Health Journalism 2022 — Levey, Pam Belluck of The New York Times, Alexis Allison of the Fort Worth Report, and moderator Anna Medaris of Insider — offered tips for finding everyday people and treating them with sensitivity.

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