Author Archives: Josh Wolfson

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About Josh Wolfson

Joshua Wolfson is a reporter at the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune. He is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-Rural Health Journalism Fellowship, which is supported by the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Snapshots from #ahcj13 | Tom Parks

Tom Parks, health editor at SmartBrief, Charlotte, N.C.:

What is the most pressing health issue in your community?
The rejection of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina is going to be one of the biggest discussions going forward and how that affects providers in the area, as well as coverage, when the mandate comes out. I’m going to be really interested to see how that happens.

What brought you to the conference?
A colleague of mine … is a member. She had spoken well about the association. And as I was looking for developmental things to do this year, I happened upon a description of the conference and was really intrigued by the idea of coming together to hear conversations about things that I edit and work with daily. And being able to understand that more deeply was really attractive.

What’s been your favorite panel at the conference so far?
The session on coverage of end­-of­-life issues was really good. When I first started working with editing some news about end­-of-life care, I thought that was going to be a real downer. And it turns out that it’s a little more uplifting and life affirming than I’d thought.

So much of the coverage is about personal stories. About narratives and times in people’s lives that can be pretty high stakes and pretty grief stricken, but also, it just gets at people’s lives and what their values are in a very deep way that is truly very interesting.

Anything you’ve heard at the conference that you’ve been taken aback by?
One of the speakers in the stem cell session said something that struck me. His idea was that all research in the end is translational research. You don’t know what is going to help someone in the clinical setting and you can’t really limit what that might be beforehand. I thought that was very insightful.

Doing any sightseeing?
I’m about to steal away and go do the (Freedom) Trail tour of history.

Snapshots from #ahcj13 | Katie Gibas

Katie Gibas, reporter at YNN, Syracuse, N.Y.:

What is the most pressing health issue in the community you cover?
The physician shortage is a huge issue. We’re a metropolitan area, but we are surrounded by a lot of rural communities that have a tough time getting access.

Why did you decide to attend the conference?
This is my third year at the conference. The first year I was just so overwhelmed with so much. I was so new to it. Didn’t really have a base of where to even start. And the last couple of years, it has really helped in terms of getting stories (and) understanding how and what I should be reporting on.

What was the best tip you got today?
I got a lot of good ones. I really liked the tip about using anecdotes to make people understand things. Like, “It’s like a car engine idling,” or “It’s like true love.” I thought those were really great ways to make it understandable to people while at the same time, not condescending.

What was the best panel you attended today?
I really liked the (panel on) covering complex stories and boiling them down for people. I thought it was really informative. A lot of these stories are so complicated and how do you make it so you can relate to a person? I struggle with that on a daily basis.

What are you looking forward to during the rest of the conference?
There are so many awesome panels that it’s hard to pick one, but I’m really looking forward to the covering end-of-life issues and the coordinating senior care (panels). Just because, it is so complicated. So many seniors are on so many medicines that I don’t even know where you begin.

Any sightseeing plans?
I did a little on my lunch break today. I haven’t been to Boston in at least 10 years or so, so I’m excited to go around now and see it now that I have more of an appreciation for history.