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Use Listening Posts to Diversify Your Health Coverage

Use Listening Posts to Diversify Your Health Coverage

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Aly Colón, independent journalist and instructor at the Poynter Institute, said in a recent webinar that journalists should look for "listening posts" to help find untold stories. Colón is a specialist in ethics and diversity and discussed ways that journalists can improve in both areas.

This week at Career GPS, we start a conversation about diversifying coverage with this question: What are the best places for health journalism listening posts? The week's health media jobs and fellowships are at the end of this post. Keep up with Career GPS via RSS.

ReportingonHealth member Romy Marquez is a freelance reporter and blogger who founded Philippine Village Voice in San Diego. Marquez spent 16 years with the community newspaper, which went on hiatus last year while Marquez is living in Toronto and seeking investors. He offers some of his own ways of listening to the Filipino community via email:

I dig up the news from community organizations/associations, government agencies and private entities that deal directly with the community. The news treasure is there. So I hang out with community leaders at their offices, in community clinics, etc. and then connect with the various medical missions undertaken by community health personnel in cooperation with some drug companies.

Usually, outreach programs by the local medical associations or nurses associations provide a wealth of story ideas. San Diego has a big Filipino community, very much like Toronto, and the professional groups (doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, nutritionists, caregivers, and all those allied medical associations) are very likely to give you a heads up where their involvement is concerned.

Marquez recalls discovering that Filipinos in San Diego do not have healthy diet despite "their lean looks." The story came from his connections to community organizations; one was given large grants to address the problem.

Ryan Sabalow, at the Redding Record Searchlight north of Sacramento, is very busy in his newsroom. He is a general assignment reporter but steps in often to report on health topics. "I don't really have time to just hang out at places and chat with folks these days. That kind of face time is hard to come by in a resource-crunched small town newspaper," Sabalow writes in an email. "Most of my health stories come from looking at data, sorting it and looking for regional health care trends. I also get story ideas from tips I get from readers or trends I see in types of cases filed in civil court, that sort of thing."

But Shasta County, where Redding is the county seat, is ripe with diverse stories: "Minus government or healthcare workers, who have health insurance, our whole county is pretty much an under-covered, low-income community," Sabalow explains.

Barbara Feder Ostrov, deputy editor of Center for Health Journalism Digital, offered this quick tip on the RoH Facebook page: "The unemployment office in your community. Definitely a good place to talk to people without health insurance."

Do you have listening posts or strategies from diversifying your health coverage? Share in comments.

Health Media Opportunities

New Job and Internship Listings

Associate Editor, American Occupational Therapy Association (via JournalismJobs)
Location: Bethesda, MD
Status: Full Time
Medium: Member Magazine

Health Reporters, (via JournalismJobs)
Location: Long Beach, CA
Status: Freelance
Medium: Online

Reporter (health, education and the arts), Columbia Basin Herald (via JournalismJobs)
Location: Moses Lake, WA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Newspaper

Staff Writer, Special Families Magazine (via craigslist)
Location: Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada or telecommute
Status: Part Time
Medium: Magazine

Reporter (health, education and the arts), Southern California Public Radio
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Radio

Paid Internship, Nature Medicine (via JournalismJobs)
Location: New York, NY
Status: Full Time, six months
Deadline to Apply: April 4, 2011

Fellowships and Grants

Rosalynn Carter Fellowships For Mental Health Journalism
Eligibility: Open to journalists with at least three years of experience and citizenship from United States, Romania or South Africa
Included: $10,000 stipends to report on mental health issues, mentorship to complete reporting project
Deadline: Apr. 18, 2011
From the Website: "Fellowships are tailored to suit the needs, interests, and experiences of each fellow. They also generate knowledge and information to benefit the mental health field and the public. When appropriate, the program requests that fellows conduct one training session related to mental health and journalism for their peers during the fellowship year."

National Health Journalism Fellowship, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media, including freelancers. Applicants need not be full time health reporters, but they need to have a passion for health news (broadly defined).
Included: All-expenses paid six-day program in Los Angeles, $200 stipend and upon completion of what are expected to be ambitious, major fellowship projects.
Deadline: May 2, 2011
From the Website: "To stimulate collaboration between mainstream and ethnic media, we encourage applicants to propose a joint project for use by both media outlets. Up to two collaborators for each project may receive a stipend."

Dennis A. Hunt Health Journalism Grants, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to all journalist members of Center for Health Journalism Digital. Print, broadcast and new media journalists from anywhere in the United States are eligible to apply, as are all past fellows of the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships.
Included: Provides funding for proposed stories or multimedia projects that illuminate or expose critical community health or community health policy issues and acceptance to the National Health Journalism Fellowship program.
Deadline: May 2, 2011
From the Website: "Proposals can focus on a specific health topic or delve into a confluence of circumstances and conditions that impact health, including environment; social class; crime and violence; urban development; access to health resources or the lack thereof; school absenteeism; transportation or city planning, and and disparities in health. Topics that would NOT be eligible would include clinical trials, medical research, or the latest treatments for a disease or any project involving a population outside of the United States."

California Health Journalism Fellowship, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media in California, including freelancers. Applicants need not be full time health reporters, but they need to have a passion for health news (broadly defined).
Included: All-expenses paid seminars in Los Angeles, mentoring for completion of reporting project
Deadline: Aug. 26, 2011
From the Website: "During the Fellowship sessions, Fellows get plenty of time to discuss with experts, and with each other, strategies for covering health news with authority and sophistication. Between the two sessions and for three months after the second session, Fellows confer by phone and e-mail with veteran journalists who guide them through work on major Fellowship projects."

Awards with Upcoming Deadlines

Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism
Eligibility: Open to journalists in all media working in the United States, Canada or Mexico who report on North American West environmental topics in 2010
Award: $5,000 prize is awarded at the annual Knight-Risser Prize Symposium at Stanford University
Deadline: Mar. 15, 2011 (book deadline has passed)
From the Website: "We want to reward and showcase reporting that best addresses important Western environmental issues - whether or not it was produced by journalists based in Western news organizations. Starting this year, we invite new players, from startups to nonprofits, students and citizen journalists to submit their finest work. Please refer to our standards for journalistic independence as explained below in the eligibility section."

Mental Health America's Media Awards
Eligibility: Open to media professionals and student journalists in print, online, radio, television and film for work published in 2010, $30-50 entry fee
Award: Winners will honored at a Media Awards luncheon on Saturday, June 11, 2011, during the 2011 Mental Health America Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. and given access to all conference sessions, but must pay their own expenses to attend
Deadline: Mar. 31, 2011
From the Website: "Entries are judged by a committee of peers selected by Mental Health America for their knowledge of mental health issues, demonstrated excellence in reporting and editorial experience."

Award for Excellence in Science and Medical Journalism, The Endocrine Society
Eligibility: English-language journalism related to endocrinology and published or broadcast between March 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011
Award: Award plaque and travel to the Society's annual meeting awards dinner in June 2011
Deadline: Apr. 1, 2011
From the Website: "The award recipient is selected by the Society's Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee (APOCC). The committee will give weight to entries that demonstrate thorough research, accurate reporting, originality and contribute to the public understanding of endocrinology."

Pfizer Award
Eligibility: This prize is awarded in recognition of an outstanding book dealing with the history of science. The book must be published in English during a period of three calendar years immediately preceding the year of competition (books eligible for 2006 were published in 2003, 2004, or 2005). Edited volumes, as well as works with more than 2 authors, are not eligible. A multi-volume work by one or two authors may be nominated only after the publication of all the volumes.
Award: The award consists of a medal and $2,500.
Deadline: Apr. 1, 2011
From the Website: "The prize committee may consider books where medicine or technology is a central theme. However, both the Society for the History of Technology and the American Association for the History of Medicine award their own prizes and while strict separation of fields is not always possible or desirable, the Pfizer Award should be given to a book that is principally a history of science."

Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment, Society of Environmental Journalism
Eligibility: Any journalism that is predominantly about an environmental subject and published or broadcast in 2010 with $30-$80 entry fee
Award: $500 first-place, $200 second-place and $100 third-place prizes may be awarded in all categories.
Deadline: Apr. 1, 2011
From the Website: "Honors outstanding environmental reporting. Award is given to encourage journalists to help educate the public and public officials on environmental issues. Results achieved by the reporting may be included."

Educational Opportunities

Masters in Specialized Journalism, USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication
Eligibility: Complete online application; separate requirements for each program
Program: Nine-month program with flexible schedule
Deadline: March 5, 2011
From the Website: "These highly customized degree programs are primarily designed for experienced journalists and gifted amateurs; the arts program welcomes practicing artists and recent graduates of arts academies and conservatories."

Alzheimer's Issues 2011, National Press Foundation
Eligibility: Print, broadcast and online journalists with letters of support from supervisors
Program: Four-day, all-expenses-paid program in Washington, D.C., May 22-25, 2011
Deadline: March 21, 2011
From the Website: "This program will feature experts on topics including the latest research in Alzheimer's prevention, diagnosis and treatment; the soaring costs of care and lost productivity; global aging and its implications; the personal stress of care-giving; ethical issues around Alzheimer's Disease; ideas for change, and more. In journalist-only discussions, we'll introduce web resources and talk about ways to present this complex story."

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