Category Archives: Public records

Brawley’s remarks open #AHCJ19 as 20th Health Journalism conference draws a record number of attendees

Cynthia Craft

About Cynthia Craft

Cynthia Craft (@cynthiahcraft) is the director of engagement for AHCJ, joining the organization after an extensive career in daily journalism, including a decade on the health care beat. Craft most recently worked as a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee, having also worked for the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Times Herald and the California Journal.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJOtis Brawley kicked off Health Journalism 2019 with a nearly standing-room-only audience.

Otis Brawley has given a lot of thought lately to the socioeconomic factors that serve as predictors of health disparities among disadvantaged Americans.

Brawley, a Bloomberg distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins University, told a crowded room at Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore on Thursday that a community’s resources – or lack thereof – contributes mightily to the health outcomes of its residents.

That holds true, regardless of race, Brawley explained to attendees at the record-breaking health journalism conference. About 800 people are attending the Baltimore conference, the 20th annual training confab AHCJ has held. Continue reading

Conference panelists invite your input on their sessions

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.

Health Journalism 2019 is coming up quickly – the fun and learning kicks off on May 2 with workshop-style sessions.

This year, we have several panelists who are soliciting input from our members and attendees ahead of the conference. This is your chance to get your needs addressed by the experts. Continue reading

Oops! That ‘Open Door Forum’ won’t be off the record after all

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Reporters were taken aback on Monday when they received an invitation to a national phone call billed as an “Open Door Forum” – with instructions that remarks made on this public call would not be on the record.

After AHCJ inquired, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that the call would, in fact, be on the record and that the off-the-record requirement was included by mistake. Continue reading

Newspaper’s suit over food stamp data headed to Supreme Court

Irene M. Wielawski

About Irene M. Wielawski

Irene M. Wielawski (@wielawski), an independent journalist based in New York, is a founder and former board member of AHCJ and serves on the organization’s Right to Know Committee.

Photo: Christopher Reilly via Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case brought eight years ago by a South Dakota newspaper asserting the public’s right to know how much taxpayer money goes to grocers and other retailers who participate in the federal food stamp program.

The Argus Leader of Sioux Falls won at the federal appellate court level last year, but a new challenge asserting the confidentiality of business records has pushed the case to the nation’s highest court. Continue reading

Reporter shares tips on how to get good data despite privacy laws

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Annie Waldman

Privacy laws, such as HIPAA, are the bane of health journalism. No matter how fervently you wish to preserve patient privacy, the legal protections often stand between you and a great story.

Unless you know the ways around them.

ProPublica’s Annie Waldman is an expert in overcoming or sidestepping privacy barriers. Continue reading

On the health beat, public records can be a lifeline

Michael Morisy

About Michael Morisy

Michael Morisy is the founder of MuckRock, a non-profit that works for a more informed democracy. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe and contributed to the New York Daily News' Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the last of four.

MuckRock, a nonprofit that assists journalists, newsrooms, and others requesting public information, has helped thousands of reporters file public records requests all across America, digging out information from federal agencies and local inspection boards alike.

Time and again, public records break essential stories and shine light on dangerous lapses — but only if someone knows to ask.

Here are some tips on using freedom of information laws to get great stories while juggling everything else you need to get done. Continue reading