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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

William Heisel, former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, writes about investigative health reporting. He is currently the director of global engagement at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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The New York Times' science and health editor Barbara Strauch died this week. Columnist William Heisel looks back at her exemplary career and shares a handful of lessons drawn from Strauch's editorial intelligence and warm, engaging presence. She will be missed.

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How does someone argue against the seemingly seemingly rational argument that people should go on drinking as much soda as they want as long as they get exercise, too? With facts.

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The sweetened-beverage industry frequently pushes the idea that you should be free to consume whatever you want as long as you exercise afterward. Maybe beverage warning labels should point out how long you'd need to exercise to burn off the calories.

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The Bay Area News Group published an op-ed on beverage warning labels in March, but the outlet failed to point out the author's ties to the beverage industry. It's part of larger pattern of industry allies pushing back in the press.

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Dan Markingson suffered from schizophrenia and killed himself in May 2004 while taking part in a clinical trial for an antipsychotic drug made by AstraZeneca. The evolving case continues to highlight problems of research oversight at the university and state levels.

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High blood pressure kills more people every year than smoking, obesity, and alcohol. And, according to a new study by CDC researchers, it’s getting worse. The study relied on an essential source of public health information all reporters should know about.

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Leah Beth Ward's sustained reporting in The Yakima Herald-Republic on the impacts of Washington’s dairy industry has helped spur important changes. In the second half of our Q&A, Ward discusses the reaction to her series, both from the industry and the broader community.

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The Yakima Herald-Republic has an august history of reporting on Washington's dairy industry and its effects on health. Contributor William Heisel interviews the paper's Leah Beth Ward about her reporting on the impacts of such dairies, which has helped prompt new court rulings.

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A federal law forbids hospitals from simply kicking their patients to the curb, a practice called patient dumping. Hospitals are required to treat patients who arrive at the ER. Here's how to check whether hospitals in your coverage area are violating the rules.

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Even with all the changes in the health care landscape, there are still more not-for-profit hospitals in the U.S. than profit-driven organizations or government-run hospitals. Finding out information isn't always easy, but using IRS 990 forms can offer a powerful window into their workings.

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Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States? The USC Center for Health Journalism seeks an enterprising and experienced journalism leader for our new position of “Manager of Projects.” 

 

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