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Investigating Health

This column offers strategies and tips for producing investigative health stories. We highlight great coverage, talk to leading reporters in the field, point out resources and datasets rich with untold stories, and discuss how to navigate the roadblocks hard-hitting investigations often run up against.

Picture of William Heisel
Journalists should find out whether schools near them are making even a meaningful effort to encourage better eating among their students. Here are some ideas to get started.
Picture of William Heisel
It’s exciting to talk about going to jail to protect a source. But it’s much more practical to talk about how you can keep yourself out of court entirely.
Picture of William Heisel
The latest outbreak of a drug-resistant bacteria in beef and cheese reminds journalists that the development of antibiotic resistance in animals and humans is now a true health hazard. Here's how to start covering the story near you.
Picture of William Heisel
The recent news that Armstrong’s death in 2012 may have been due to complications from a medical procedure was big news for history buffs, space fans, and investigative reporters. Here's why.
Picture of Kathleen McGrory
For reporters on the health beat, Medicaid is a vital source of watchdog stories. Check out these six great tips from veteran journalists on how to investigate Medicaid stories at local and regional outlets.
Picture of William Heisel
What can you do to make sure you’re not in a position where outing a source is an option?
Picture of William Heisel
How can you find out if hospitals or health centers near you are doing enough to ensure good maternal health? Start by pretending you are a first-time mother in crisis.
Picture of Trudy  Lieberman
Taken together these stories on pediatric surgery programs raises serious questions about American hospitals and the care they provide. Here are a few worthy of further examination.
Picture of Kellie  Schmitt
A three-year long reporting journey blended science and street reporting to reveal widespread environmental threats to Philadelphia's children at home and school.
Picture of William Heisel
While objectivity might not exist, the key is to check your biases. And recheck them throughout your reporting.

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Got a great idea for a reporting project on the health of underserved communities in California or on the performance of the state's health and social safety nets?  We're offering reporting grants of $2,000 to $10,000, plus six months of mentoring, to up to eight individual journalists, newsrooms or cross-newsroom collaboratives.  Deadline to apply:  September 20.

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