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Patrick Boyle is editor of Youth Today, the national trade newspaper and website for people who run youth programs, and a Huffington Post blogger who specializes in fatherhood. Mr. Boyle has covered youth issues for decades as a staff reporter on the Watertown Daily Times, The Washington Times and Youth Today and as a freelancer for the Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Newsday, Child and Parenting magazines and ABC News, among others. His 1994 book, “Scouts’ Honor,” examined child molestation in the Boy Scouts of America. Mr.

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Sorry, Jody Ranck. I’m giving up on NetVibes for right now and will stick to my Google and Yahoo readers.

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A conference on health disparities for an audience of journalists is bound to produce lots of story ideas, and the one under way in Washington, organized by the National Association of Black Journalists, is no exception.

Here are some ideas for stories that have emerged from two days (so far) of discussions:

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Mental Health America’s Media Awards recognize excellence in reporting and portrayals of mental health issues from the previous year in news and feature stories and the entertainment media, on the national, state, local and student levels, and in print, online, wire, radio, television and film.

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UPDATE: 9:54 p.m., Jan. 19

The phrase "stunning upset" doesn't even begin to capture the national political shockwaves as Republican Scott Brown defeats Martha Coakley for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat. The "what happens to health reform now?" political analysis below remains relevant. In the meantime, here's a quick roundup of the latest coverage and analysis:

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In the heated debate over the new routine mammogram screening recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, not enough coverage has focused on our perception of risk.

It’s important context for all reporting on medical screening.

Journalist Merrill Goozner, who blogs at GoozNews, has a great post on this topic, and on the costs of our misperception of risk. He writes:

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A dentist drives through the dark alleyways of New Jersey in the dead of winter, visiting morgues where he cuts out bones, slices out tendons and peels off layers of skin from corpses. With coolers packed with human flesh, he then drives to a smoking factory where the body parts are turned into things that are put into other people's bodies, without them ever knowing.

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A reporter gets a call from the hypothetical Council for Making Sick Kids Smile about an event being sponsored on an otherwise sleepy Sunday. The reporter heads out to the event, hoping for a quick local page filler, and comes back to the newsroom with a great-sounding story with quotes from a well-spoken university professor and a teary mom and a photo of a sick and smiling child holding balloons nuzzling with a baby koala bear.

What reporters in this situation rarely ask is: who founded this council and why?

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"It is not often that you are aware of the revolution right while you are in the midst of it. But we are," says Alicia C. Shepard, ombudsman at National Public Radio. And with those changes come a host of challenges for journalists working in a fast-changing climate, she recently told a group of broadcasters participating in The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships.

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Trudy Lieberman is the president of The Association of Health Care Journalists board of directors, and she is the director of the health and medicine reporting program at the Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York. Ms. Lieberman is also a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, and a contributor to The Nation. Below is her blog post on how health care reporting is possible - and necessary!

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Announcements

More than 100 anti-transgender rights bills were introduced in state legislatures this year. Many focus on children and teens. Join us for our next Health Matters webinar, where we'll explore the health and well-being of transgender youth as states such as Arkansas and Tennessee seek to limit their rights. Our expert panel will share the latest research, seed story ideas and offer reporting advice. Sign-up here!

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?  Apply now for one of our positions. 

The best journalism these days wraps compelling narratives around scrupulous data analysis. Apply now for our 2021 Data Fellowship to learn the skills necessary to use big data to inform your reporting on health and social welfare issues. Learn more in this webinar on Aug. 3.

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