You learn a lot when you spend months reporting on a given issue or community, as our fellows can attest. Whether you’re embarking on a big new story or seeking to go deeper on a given issue, it pays to learn from those who’ve already put in the shoe leather and crunched the data. In these essays and columns, our community of journalists steps back from the notebooks and tape to reflect on key lessons, highlight urgent themes, and offer sage advice on the essential health stories of the day. 

By Edwin Bender

How much did the tobacco industry give to state candidates, committees, and ballot measures during the 2012 election cycle? 

By Jill Braden Balderas

The tobacco industry has never been shy about flexing its financial muscle to influence policy. A report released this week looks at the tobacco lobby’s efforts to derail increased cigarette taxes and another sheds some not so flattering light on state and federal efforts to control tobacco use.

By Kimber Solana

Annually, Medicare pays about $6 million for telehealth services, according to the IOM. In comparison, Medicare paid over $3 billion to providers participating in Electronic Health Record incentive programs from 2011 to 2012.

By William Heisel

When a new car comes on the market, car writers rush to drive, dissect, and describe in detail all the ways it will make your life better or worse. If health writers could learn to think more like car writers in this regard, health consumers would be much better informed.

By Jane Stevens

The last 15 years of research on how adverse childhood experiences cause adult onset of chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence is unequivocal. To understand what happened to Adam Lanza, we have to ask difficult questions.