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Health journalism center changes name, but not its aims

The Center for Health Journalism will continue to help journalists explore pertinent issues in their communities

by Center for Health Journalism staff
David Fallon speaks with health journalists.
David Fallon speaks with journalists about residents with chronic health problems. (Photo/courtesy of USC Annenberg)

A center devoted to health journalism training and news collaborations has announced a name change that reflects its broader reach and impact: the Center for Health Journalism.

Formerly known as The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, the center has operated since 2004 as a program of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. Initially, it had a singular purpose: to offer health journalism training to California journalists. The center’s activities have expanded considerably since its founding, with a webinar series, grant-making and reporting collaboratives now among its family of programs.

Michelle Levander, the center’s founding director, said the new name better reflects its rich array of initiatives.

“Our overall mission remains the same — to help journalists and community storytellers innovate, investigate and illuminate health challenges in their communities,” Levander said. “But as journalism has changed, our center has innovated to serve reporters and their communities better.”

Willow Bay, director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, added: “The center has a reputation for excellence. Its partnerships with news outlets across the country enrich the profession and call attention to pressing health issues in communities across America.”

Among the center’s programs:

Professional Health Journalism Training & Partnerships with Newsrooms: The center trains reporters, partnering with them and their newsrooms to nurture ambitious journalism that impacts policy, stimulates new community discussions and wins awards. Its fellows have produced more than 1,500 articles about health issues in the United States. The center’s next fellowship, which begins in December, will train California reporters in health data journalism.

CenterforHealthJournalism.org: Formerly called Reporting on Health, this online community has built a community conversation among people who are passionate about fostering great health coverage of our communities, including journalists, policy thinkers and policymakers and clinicians. The Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recently honored the site and Levander, its founder.

Media Grant-making: The center awards more than $70,000 annually to reporters to underwrite substantive explanatory and investigative journalism.

The Center for Health Journalism Collaborative: Formerly called the ReportingonHealth Collaborative, this joint effort by the center and select Health Journalism fellows and their media outlets tackles ambitious investigative projects on a common theme to harness the power of reporting across news outlets, languages and types of media.

Boyle Heights Beat/El Pulso de Boyle Heights: In partnership with Hoy (Los Angeles Times Media Group), the center publishes a quarterly bilingual newspaper written by youth and distributed to 28,000 households, as well an online news site, BoyleHeightsBeat.com, with adult contributors, which serve a Latino immigrant neighborhood of Los Angeles.

To commemorate the center’s new name, it’s rolling out a new look for its website, CenterforHealthJournalism.org, which features blog posts from community members and contributing editors; reporting and commentary on health care reform, children’s health and health care innovation; fellowship projects; archives of monthly webinars; and alerts about future fellowships and other opportunities for health journalists.

The Center for Health Journalism was established with a grant from The California Endowment. Its current funders also include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, the Hunt family and other donors.

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Health journalism center changes name, but not its aims

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