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2022 California Fellowship

Date and Time: 
Monday, April 18, 2022 to Friday, April 22, 2022
Program Description: 

California Fellows visit a South L.A. high school to learn about trauma and mental health

California Fellows visit a South L.A. high school to learn about trauma and mental health efforts to help. Credit: Jeff Skerik

The USC Center for Health Journalism helps reporters advance their skills in "impact reporting," journalism that combines powerful narratives, unassailable data and engagement. We encourage reporters to seek solutions to health inequities and to explore how systemic obstacles such as racism and poverty can influence the quality of life for children, families and communities.

Our competitive Fellowship programs include mentorship, a reporting stipend, and an intensive week of training that includes inspiring trips out in the field and interactive sessions with some of the nation’s most sought-after journalists, policymakers, community health leaders and healthcare experts.

Since 2005, we’ve supported more than 1,200 journalists through our intensive and supportive programs -- whose work has changed policies and laws, raised awareness of critical health issues and contributed to building healthier communities. They’ve won top awards and honors along the way — three journalists earned Pulitzer prizes for their Fellowship projects. 

California Fellowship 

Our California Fellowship is designed to support reporters in the Golden State as they pursue ambitious, enterprising projects on overlooked health and health equity issues. You decide what stories need to be told in your community to improve health outcomes and we work to support you. 

A few broad reporting themes that we support: 

We embrace a broad view of health, which  doesn’t just happen at doctor’s offices and hospitals. Health is shaped by our environment — our schools, our neighborhoods and our communities. We strive to admit Fellows whose work reflects that. 

  • Systemic racism and root causes of health inequities 
  • Domestic violence as a public health issue

  • School-to-prison pipeline as a health issue

  • Social determinants of health 

  • Whether our justice system, our schools and health systems serve all Californians – and who is left out or disproportionately harmed. 

  • Systemic barriers to health tied to race, poverty, and economic opportunity

For inspiration, check out some of the thousands of stories our Fellows have produced. 

Admitted Fellows will receive: 

  • A $2,000 stipend to defray reporting costs
  • One week of extensive training
  • Five months of professional mentorship

Fellows also are eligible to apply for five months of professional mentorship in engaged journalism and $1,000-$2,000 to support those creative efforts.

Who can apply? 

  • California-based professional journalists (including freelancers and national correspondents with California-focused projects). We have accepted reporters in the past across all levels, from the smallest rural newspapers to national outlets. 

We give preference to: 

  • Applicants who have a minimum of three years of professional journalism experience
  • Reporters pursuing collaborative projects between mainstream and ethnic news outlets

The application period for the 2022 California Fellowship is now closed. 

This program is made possible thanks to the generous support of The California Endowment and the Blue Shield of California Foundation. 



The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series "Dying for Care," who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Sign-up here!


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