Our new California Data Fellowship introduced 10 competitively-selected California journalists to a wealth of data sources that can inform and elevate their health reporting. The all-expenses-paid program, funded with generous grants from the California HealthCare Foundation and The California Endowment, includes a $1,000 reporting stipend. The Fellowship was designed for reporters who want to learn how to harness and analyze data that can shape health care decision-making, policy and legislation across California and beyond. It will help journalists who are skilled storytellers to advance to a new level by mining healthcare data to reveal key insights essential to high impact journalism.
Over the course of four days, Fellows learned how to integrate the growing wealth of California health data – data about procedures, providers, costs, conditions and demographics -- into reporting and writing about health issues in their communities. We also brought in editors to participate in a half-day project brainstorming session with other Fellows and editors. Our highly skilled Senior Fellows will provide guidance over the next six months as each Fellow works on a substantive data-based health journalism project.
This Fellowship was open to all California-based journalists, as well as journalists based elsewhere who contribute regularly to a California-based media outlet.
Click here for a list of Fellows and links to their blog posts about their Fellowship projects.
Here are some highlights:
- William E. Heisel, director of global engagement for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations at the University of Washington and a blogger for CenterforHealthJournalism.org, gave the keynote dinner address on "The Power of Small Data."
- Paul Overberg, a data journalist at the Wall Street Journal, provided a primer on the basics of spreadsheet analysis and the census.
- Cheryl Phillips, Hearst Professional in Residence at Stanford University's Department of Communication, provided instruction on standardizing data.
- Meghan Hoyer, a data journalist for The Associated Press, provided a roadmap to evaluating the success of Obamacare.
- Scott Christman, chief information officer with the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development; Andy Krackov; associate director for external engagement for the California HealthCare Foundation; and Michael Wilkening, undersecretary of health and human services, led an informal lunch conversation about how California can make its health data more accessible and useful to journalists.
- Sarah Cohen, editor of the Computer-Assisted Reporting Group at The New York Times, talked about how reporters can use FOIA and its cousins to access death records, hospital payments and lobbying by health care companies.