$1-3k reporting and engagement grants, all-expenses-paid health journalism training

In this era of dwindling newsroom resources, we’ve got a proposition for you: come spend five days with us at USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism learning about how race, ethnicity, education level and socioeconomic status influence health, and go home with a $1,000 reporting grant (and, for five journalists, community engagement grants of $2,000 as well!)

The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s will bring 20 journalists to USC March 18-22, 2018 for the all-expenses-paid 2018 California Fellowship.

The Fellowship will take an in-depth look at how socioeconomic status interacts with community conditions to affect an individual’s prospects for health and also examine how California is responding to the uncertainties wrought by a new Administration, especially with regard to Californians who rely on Medi-Cal, federal subsidies and safety net clinics.

The $1,000 reporting grant is meant to help with the costs of producing a substantive explanatory or investigative project on a health issue important to your community. Each Fellow will also receive six months of mentoring by a senior journalist. And up to five Fellows will receive an additional $2,000 for community engagement, as well as six months of specialized mentoring on creative ways to involve their communities in their reporting and maximize the impact of their work. Recent projects have focused not just on traditional health topics, but sex ed controversies and the impacts of gang violence, toxic stress, environmental contaminants and the opioid epidemic.

The Fellowship week is jam-packed with workshops, seminars and field trips that will help you understand the relationship between a community’s health and the health of the individuals who live there. From experts in various fields and prize-winning journalists, Fellows learn new ways of thinking about the health of their communities — and effective ways of explaining them to their audiences. Each Fellowship also features a half-day project workshop for Fellows and their editors, whom we bring in at our expense.

Many Fellowship projects have won awards (including a Pulitzer Prize) and helped Fellows advance their careers. 2017 Fellow Antonia Cereijido of Latino USA said, “Especially at a time when it feels like journalists can’t keep up with the news, pulling back to think holistically about something as important as health offers an opportunity to reorient and better understand what direction you want your reporting to take.” Monica Velez of the Merced Sun-Star said, “I learned there is a lot more to health care than insurance and how important patient stories are.”

Who Can Apply

The Fellowship is open to print, broadcast and online journalists from California, as well as journalists based elsewhere who contribute to California media outlets or to national outlets with a California footprint. Both newsroom staffers and freelance contributors are encouraged to apply. And it’s not just health reporters we’re looking for. We define health very broadly. Through past Fellowships, general assignment reporters as well as education, criminal justice, county and state government and environmental reporters have found new ways to think about their coverage. 2017 Fellow Mackenzie Mays, an education reporter for the Fresno Bee, said, “The program has helped me think outside the box, particularly when it comes to community engagement and reaching new audiences. As someone who does not cover health, the workshop has made me think of the many ways health can spill over into other parts of people’s lives.”

To encourage collaboration between mainstream and ethnic media, preference will be given to applicants who propose a joint project for use by both media outlets.

For more information about how to apply, visit CenterforHealthJournalism.orgor email Martha Shirk at CAHealth@usc.edu. The deadline to apply is December 15, 2017. We strongly encourage a conversation about your proposed project before you apply.

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