California Endowment Health Journalism Fellows Announced
The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism announced journalism awards totaling $53,500 to support investigative and explanatory reporting projects on topics ranging from health in America’s underserved communities to the challenges for health reform and quality medical care.
More than 60 journalists nationwide competed this year for 19 journalism grants from the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism and the National Health Journalism Fellowships – both programs of the school’s California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships.
As part of the program, which is funded by a grant from The California Endowment, the journalism fellows gathered this week in Los Angeles for six days of workshops, seminars and field trips that explore community health issues. They then continue their fellowship work on ambitious reporting projects over the next six months to a year.
“We need high-quality, high-impact health journalism now more than ever to keep community health issues squarely in the public spotlight,” said Mary Lou Fulton, program manager, communication and media grants, at The California Endowment.
USC Annenberg’s 2011 Dennis A. Hunt grantees will receive grants ranging from $2,000 to $7,000 to fund year-long investigative and explanatory reporting projects on critical community health issues. These include projects on community health challenges confronting predominantly Latino communities in the Midwest; West Virginia’s rising tide of chronic disease and obesity; the underlying causes of health disparities among Native Americans in Oregon; the health problems in California’s disadvantaged, unincorporated communities; the health impact of pollution in Maywood, Calif.; and the prevention innovations funded under federal health care reform.
The Hunt fund honors the legacy of Dennis A. Hunt, a communication leader at The California Endowment who was dedicated to improving and supporting quality reporting on the health of communities. Hunt died in a car crash in 2007 at the age of 60. Hundreds of his friends and colleagues, the Hunt family and The California Endowment joined together to create and provide ongoing support for the fund.
“Dennis’ legacy is honored with these important stories. Hunt fellows are writing about critical health issues in communities that are often overlooked or forgotten,” the Hunt family said in a statement.
The 14 other national fellows participating in the fellowship will receive grants of $2,000 to support projects on pressing health issues in their communities.
“Our journalism grants have proved to be excellent investments,” said Geneva Overholser, director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. “Great health journalism has been produced. And some new media start-ups have parlayed our initial grants to secure foundation funding for several years of health reporting in their communities. It’s been exciting to contribute to the new media ecosystem in this fashion.”
Michelle Levander, director of the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, which administers the Hunt and national journalism programs, said: “Our health journalism fellows are provoking important conversations and change in local communities across the nation. We expect great things from the 2011 fellows and know that Dennis Hunt would have been proud to see the fruits of the national and Hunt fellowships.”