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About the Fellowships

What We Do

 

The USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellowships

Each year, we train competitively selected professional journalists from leading print, broadcast, ethnic and online media during three all-expenses-paid journalism institutes, one for California journalists and two for journalists  from across the nation. After the trainings, we partner with our Fellows and their news organizations to nurture ambitious journalism that impacts policy and spurs new community discussions. From time to time, we offer other specialized health journalism training opportunities as well. We have trained more than 1,100 journalists since 2005. Click here to read the thousands of stories that our Fellows have produced, changing policy and winning journalism awards along the way.

The Fellowships are open to all journalists interested in health reporting, not just those on the health beat. We invite participation from print, digital, broadcast and multimedia journalists working for or contributing to mainstream and ethnic media outlets in the United States.

Our reporting Fellowships offer journalists a chance to step away from the newsroom to hone their health reporting skills, providing critical resources at a time of dramatic change in the media landscape. In online workshops and discussions, Fellows learn from nationally renowned health experts, policy analysts and community health leaders, from top journalists in the field, and from each other. Participants "graduate" with a multitude of story ideas and sources, plus a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of good health journalism. We teach best journalistic practices and help journalists explore the root causes of ill health, including systemic racism, poverty, trauma, barriers to health care access, the built environment, housing and food insecurity, unemployment, lack of education and exposure to community or domestic violence. The program is both practical and inspiring.  We emphasize solutions journalism, journalism with  impact and community engagement approaches that help journalists to make a difference.

For up to five months afterwards, senior journalists guide Fellows as they complete ambitious explanatory or investigative Fellowship projects.

California Fellowship

Each year, we offer an all-expenses-paid Fellowship for California-based journalists and journalists based elsewhere who contribute primarily to California news outlets. The 2021 California Fellowship was held April 12-16  through an online platform, given the travel restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fellowship took an in-depth look at how community conditions influence individuals' prospects for health as well as the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on people of color. One day of the Fellowship was devoted to domestic violence as a public health issue. Each Fellow received a $2,000 grant to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious Fellowship project on a California health issue and will receive five months of mentoring by a veteran journalist. Larger grants of $2,500 to $10,000 were awarded for exceptionally ambitious reporting proposals, including those that involve newsroomwide, multi-newsroom or mainstream-ethnic media collaborations. In addition, several California Fellows received Community Engagement Grants of $1,000 to $2,000, as well as six months of specialized mentoring on engaged journalism. Click here for a list of the 2021 California Fellows and links to their profiles and blog posts about their Fellowship projects. The California Endowment, the Blue Shield of California Foundation and First5 LA supported the 2021 California Fellowship. 

Data Fellowship

The annual all-expenses-paid Data Fellowship, held this year from October 25-29, introduces journalists from both California and around the country to the wealth of health and child welfare and well-being datasets that can inform and elevate their reporting. Each Fellow receives a $2,000 grant to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious data-based Fellowship project, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow. This Fellowship is funded by generous grants from the The California Endowment, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the California Health Care Foundation.  Click here for a list of the 2021 Data Fellows and their bios and project summaries.

National Fellowship

The annual all-expenses-paid National Fellowship, held each July, is designed for journalists who want to do groundbreaking reporting on health disparities and on vulnerable children, youth and families and the community conditions and social forces that contribute to their health, welfare well-being. Each Fellow  spends the next five months working on a substantive reporting project, assisted with a reporting grant of $2,000-$10,000 and mentoring by a veteran journalist. The 2021 National Fellowship was held July 19-23, 2021 via Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click  here for a list of the 2021 National Fellows and links to their profiles. The 2021 National Fellowship was supported by generous grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment. In conjunction with each National Fellowship, we administer two specialty reporting grant funds and a community engagement grant fund:

  • The Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, a competitive grants program to underwrite substantive reporting on health disparities and community health issues. Each Hunt grantee receives $2,500 to $10,000 to support research on a community health topic. To read a selection of projects produced with the support of the Hunt Fund, click here.
  • The Fund for Journalism on Child and Youth Well-Being, a competitive grants program to underwrite substantive reporting on the health, welfare and wellbeing of vulnerable children, youth and families.  Each Child Well-being grantee receives $2,500 to $10,000 to support their reporting.
  • The Community Engagement Fund provides supplemental grants of $1,000 to $2,000 to underwrite innovative community engagement strategies. Each year, five National Fellows receive Community Engagement Grants, in addition to their reporting grants, as well as five  months of mentoring from a community engagement specialist. Click here to learn more about our community engagement initiative, and click here for a FAQ on the engagement grants. Click here to read a blog post by Center Director Michelle Levander and watch a video about the goals of the grants.

Center for Health Journalism Impact Funds

The  Center for Health Journalism California Impact Fund provides support to California journalists who think big and want to make a difference in their communities. We welcome applications from journalists or newsrooms that want to tackle ambitious investigative or explanatory projects – by themselves, as a newsroom-wide undertaking or as a collaboration with other media outlets in their communities.  The California Wellness Foundation provides support for the California Impact Fund. The deadline to apply for  is November 30, 2021, with the awards to be announced in early January 2022 and projects required to be broadcast or published by May 31, 2022.

The Center for Health Journalism Impact Fund for Reporting on Health Equity and Health Systems, new in 2021, will provide reporting grants of $2,000-$10,000 and five months of mentoring by a seasoned journalism professional to up to eight competitively chosen journalists from around the country to support their reporting of ambitious investigative or explanatory projects on structural or systemic issues in the health care system that lead to racial disparities in health outcomes. The deadline to apply is November 30, 2021, with the awards to be announced in early January 2022 and projects required to be broadcast or published by May 31, 2022. The Commonwealth Fund provides support for this fund.

The Center for Health Journalism 2021 Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund provided nine reporting grants and mentoring to journalists from both California and other states to report on domestic violence in their communities. The grants were made in conjunction with a two-day symposium on domestic violence that was held in April 2021 for journalists and community storytellers. Click here for details about the symposium and here for a list of the Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund grantees and links to their projects. The Blue Shield of California Foundation supported the symposium and the grants to California journalists and storytellers, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation supported the grants to journalists from other states.

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This year saw a scorcher of a summer, the hottest on record. Worse, it could be the coldest summer we’ll see in our lifetimes. In this webinar, we’ll glean lessons and insights from a yearlong Los Angeles Times investigation into extreme heat. We’ll also identify gaps in state and federal tracking efforts, and outline policy changes that could help. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism's Impact Funds provide reporting support — funding and mentoring — to journalists who think big and want to make a difference. 

Apply today for our National Impact Fund for reporting on health equity and health systems across the country. 

Apply today for our California Impact Fund for reporting that brings untold stories to light in the Golden State. 

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