Tag Archives: diversity

Diversifying your sources can improve your reporting

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

It’s an easy trap to fall into: call the hospital public relations department and ask to speak with an authority about your topic. Chances are good you will end up interviewing an older, typically white, male doctor.

And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, if you’re only talking to one group of experts, you’re missing out on vital sources which can add rich, diverse perspectives to your stories, according to the journalists who participated in the “Finding diverse sources for your story” panel at Health Journalism 2019. Besides, diversity is just good journalism. Continue reading

Hispanic health care leaders advocate for better cultural competency

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association

Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association

Language and cultural barriers negatively impact the health of Hispanic Americans, federal health officials say. A lack of access to routine health services has contributed to an increase in a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and gum disease, that disproportionately affect the nation’s more than 50 million Hispanics.

An increase in Hispanic health care providers could help address the need for “culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services,” said Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA).Yet Hispanic physicians, dentists and nurses remain in short supply. Continue reading

New tip sheet offers assistance in covering LGBT aging issues

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Image by Ulrich Joho via flickr.

Image by Ulrich Joho via flickr.

Covering LGBT aging can be an exercise in frustration for journalists. Though more older adults are living openly as LGBT these days, health data on this segment of the population often is missing from government reports and statistics, according to Matthew Bajko, assistant editor at the Bay Area Reporter.

Bajko, who covers aging, politics, and HIV/AIDS for the San Francisco-based paper, has written a new tip sheet for AHCJ members on covering aging among the LGBT population. Continue reading

AHCJ mourns journalist Dori J. Maynard

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and served for nearly 20 years in daily journalism.

Dori Maynard

Dori J. Maynard

AHCJ laments the passing of Dori J. Maynard, longtime journalist and president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Maynard died Tuesday of lung cancer at 56. She and the organization named for her father pushed for diversity in journalism coverage and newsroom staffing.

A champion of journalism education, she led the Fault Lines project, which seeks to teach journalists to recognize and leverage diversity “across the ‘fault lines’ of race, class, gender, generation and geography.” She was a 1993 Nieman fellow, following in the footsteps of her father, who was a fellow in 1966.

As a reporter, she worked at The Bakersfield Californian, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., and the Detroit Free Press.  Maynard attended AHCJ events as an AHCJ Ethnic Media Fellow, as an annual conference speaker and as a co-sponsor of a workshop on multicultural health. Her contributions will be missed.

Diverse sources key to richer, more nuanced stories

Paul Kleyman

About Paul Kleyman

Paul Kleyman is director, ethnic elders newsbeat, for New America Media and the national coordinator of the Journalists Network on Generations, a group of 1,000 journalists who cover issues in aging.

New America Media (NAM) just posted the 400th article on its Ethnic Elders Newsbeat page since we started it in late 2008. (NAM is a nonprofit news service working with 3,000 ethnic media in the United States.)

The 400th piece, “Caregivers Break the Silence: Japanese Americans at Risk,” is by Ellen Endo. A veteran editor and reporter in the Asian American media, Endo developed the story for her ethnic media organization, Rafu Shimpo in Los Angeles, under the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows program, a collaboration between the nonprofit NAM and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

But it could just as well have been stories by other MetLife Fellows, perhaps Cristina Fresquez-Pizarro’s piece for the Denver-based El Semanario on the high level of Parkinson’s among Latinos, or the next installment of Peter McDermott’s series on older immigrants aging in America for the Irish Echo in New York.

Not only has developing (and sometimes writing) such articles given me a full editorial spice rack of story angles on aging, but it has deepened my belief that reporters can enliven many stories – often in surprising and meaningful ways – simply by finding at least one ethnically diverse source. Continue reading

‘Diversity gap’ could hinder support for baby boomers

Judith Graham

About Judith Graham

Judith Graham (@judith_graham), is a freelance journalist based in Denver and former topic leader on aging for AHCJ. She haswritten for the New York Times, Kaiser Health News, the Washington Post, the Journal of the American Medical Association, STAT News, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications.

We’ve all heard about the generation gap, a term that refers loosely to different expectations, experiences, tastes and pursuits that separate young and old people.

Core Topics
Health Reform
Other Topics

William Frey, a demographer, highlighted an overlooked dimension of this divide – a widening diversity gap – in a Washington Post editorial last week. Simply put, older people are largely of white and European descent, while younger people are increasingly brown, black, Asian, and of mixed racial and ethnic origins.

“Recent census numbers show that white babies are, for the first time, a minority of all births, putting an exclamation point on a trend that has been building for decades,” wrote Frey, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.

“Among Americans older than 50, 76 percent are white, and the black population, at 10 percent, is the largest minority. Among those younger than 30, 55 percent are whites. Hispanics, Asians and other nonblack minorities account for 31 percent of that age group. Younger people are much more likely to be first- and second-generation Americans of non-European ancestry and able to speak English and other languages.”

Why should this matter? The answer is that in society, as in families, young people help support those who are old. If there a sense of estrangement between the generations – or a sense of indifference – that support could become tenuous.

As Frey observes, “It is this diverse youth population that the largely white baby boomers will rely upon in their retirement years to keep paying into Social Security and Medicare.” Should youth not be prepared to assume that obligation by virtue of their values, economic circumstances or cultural antagonism, the consequences could be severe.

Yet older people seem to have what Frey calls “more than a little antipathy toward today’s diverse, younger Americans.” In a Pew Research Center survey published in November, “almost half of white boomers said the growing number of newcomers from other countries represented a threat to traditional U.S. customs and values,” he notes. Instead of embracing the generations’ interdependence, boomers appear to be largely unprepared for this vast change in America’s social fabric, Frey writes.

It’s an issue that also concerns the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society, a group of academics studying how social institutions should change to accommodate the needs of a growing older population.

“Many scholars wonder if people who are middle aged will continue to support entitlement programs for the elderly,” said Dr. John Rowe, chair of the MacArthur Aging Network, earlier this year. “Our group doesn’t think that’s the most important question. Instead, we’re asking whether middle-aged and young Hispanics will be willing to support older whites?”

Judith GrahamJudith Graham (@judith_graham), AHCJ’s topic leader on aging, is writing blog posts, editing tip sheets and articles and gathering resources to help our members cover the many issues around our aging society.

If you have questions or suggestions for future resources on the topic, please send them to judith@healthjournalism.org.

Add to that another question: What policies are needed to solidify the ties between generations as America ages and bridge this diversity gap?

Potential solutions seem obvious. Make sure young people of color and varied ethnic backgrounds get a good education. Give them economic opportunities. Invest in their health. Give them the tools to succeed and become an integral part of society, not marginalized. Yet, it’s not at all clear whether older Americans are willing to make these kinds of commitments, financially or politically.

Frey’s editorial is an attempt to change that and help Baby Boomers understand where their interests lie. Given the demographic realities upon us, he argues:

“Advancement of our young people into middle-class jobs at all skill levels is essential to future economic growth. That growth is, in turn, essential to our country’s ability to provide opportunities and social supports. Absent these investments, we are looking at a society whose members will be fighting over pieces of a shrinking pie.”

That is a very sobering prospect indeed for anyone concerned about our future and the prospects for our elderly population.