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USC Annenberg providing health journalism training, grants to 23 California journalists

USC Annenberg providing health journalism training, grants to 23 California journalists

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The Center for Health Journalism at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism has selected 23 talented California journalists to participate in its annual California Fellowship.   

We are delighted to welcome the 2021 California Fellows, whose reporting promises to illuminate the work that remains to be done as we emerge from the pandemic. 

The recovery will be uneven, with some benefiting more than others. With these projects, we will ensure that important stories are told about health and health inequities in our communities. Through our “impact reporting” model, we hope to see new community conversations, new laws and policies spurred by our collaboration.

The competitive program includes a five-day training that introduces journalists to insights about how health is shaped by community conditions, systemic racism and opportunity. Through reporting stipends and five months of expert mentoring, the Center nurtures investigative and explanatory reporting Fellowship projects on health challenges facing Californians, in collaboration with the participating journalists and their outlets.

Each of the Fellows will receive a reporting grant of $2,000-$10,000, and three to five will receive community engagement grants of up to $2,000. 

In partnership with the Center, journalists will report on topics such as how decades of neglect and systemic racism have combined to make San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood one of the city’s most unhealthy places to live; how Bay Area counties are dealing with the aging of the chronically homeless population; disparities in the quality and accessibility of health care for Latino and indigenous residents of Mendocino County; the disproportionate rate of amputations in people of color; and the future of transportation and public transit in Fresno County. 

More than half of the projects of participating reporters explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the disproportionate impact on farmworkers, Myanmarese, Latino and Cambodian immigrants, South Asian small grocers, Black residents of Sacramento and Los Angeles, pregnant women, people with disabilities, drug users and youth. One project explores how nursing homes may change as a result of the high mortality rate for residents. Two Fellows will undertake projects focused on families and children from ages 0 to 5, including challenges faced by pregnant women with disabilities and pregnant and parenting women who are jailed in Los Angeles County.

The Fellowship training will explore how neighborhood life, social inequities, race, education and the environment influence health, as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated race- and ethnicity-based health disparities. Among the speakers are former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and a special adviser for economic mobility and opportunity to Gov. Gavin Newsom; and USC Professor Manuel Pastor, director of the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California.

Fellows will also hear from journalists who have done exemplary reporting on health or health disparities, including Pulitzer Prize winner Eli Saslow of The Washington Post; Linda Villarosa, a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and head of the journalism program at City College of New York; Romina Ruiz-Goiriena, national housing and social services reporter for USA Today; and Marissa Evans of the Los Angeles Times. 

The Center’s work is enriched by our “Community of Fellows,” former Center for Health Journalism Fellows and Grantees who return to give back. This program includes participation from Neil Bedi of ProPublica; Kavitha Cardoza, freelance reporter for NPR; Victoria Colliver of Politico; Leo Castaneda of the San Jose Mercury News; Dan Diamond of The Washington Post; Valeria Fernandez, Nieman Fellow and freelance journalist for Radio Bilingue; Anita Hofschneider of Honolulu Civil Beat, Gabrielle Horton of NATAL; Soumya Karlamangla of the Los Angeles Times; Marisa Kwiatkowski of USA Today; Kathleen McGrory of the Tampa Bay Times; Jacob Simas of Oaklandside; and Catherine Stifter, freelance documentary producer.

Founded in 2004, The Center for Health Journalism has trained more than 1,000 journalists on “impact reporting,” which combines powerful narratives with data analysis and community engagement. The 2021 California Fellowship is funded by generous grants from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment and First 5 LA. 

We are pleased to announce our 2021 California Fellows:

SweSwe Aye, Myanmar Gazette

Genoa Barrow, Sacramento Observer

Danielle Bergstrom, Fresnoland Lab, and Maria Ortiz-Briones, Vide en el Valle

Ariel Boone, KPFA and Street Spirit

Eli Cahan, Medscape

Danielle Chiriguayo, KCRW

Emily DeRuy, San Jose Mercury News and Bay Area News Group (BANG)

Darlene Donloe, The Wave

Christopher Egusa, KALW

Carly Graf, San Francisco Examiner

Olga Grigoryante, Los Angeles Daily News and Southern California News Group (SCNG)

Angela Johnston, KALW

Arcenio Lopez, Radio Indigena 94.1 FM

Abraham Marquez and Zaydee Sanchez, Palabra

Kate Maxwell and Dana Ullman, The Mendocino Voice

Laura Place, Santa Maria Times

Srishti Prabha, India Currents

Kelly Puente, Long Beach Post

Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times

Taylor Walker, WitnessLA

Click here for a list of the 2021 California Fellows and links to their profiles and blog posts about their Fellowship projects. 



The Center for Health Journalism’s two-day symposium on domestic violence will provide reporters with a roadmap for covering this public health epidemic with nuance and sensitivity. The first day will take place on the USC campus on Friday, March 17. The Center has a limited number of $300 travel stipends for California journalists coming from outside Southern California and a limited number of $500 travel stipends for those coming from out of state. Journalists attending the symposium will be eligible to apply for a reporting grant of $2,000 to $10,000 from our Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund. Find more info here!


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