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Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

So it’s been three months already since health reform passed, and journalists around the country are still looking for ways to keep this story fresh. Earlier, I wrote about lessons you can learn from some top  Washington DC health reporters, with an eye on Sept. 23, when the next set of new provisions takes effect.

Picture of William Heisel

The Medical Board of California told Orange County Register health reporter Courtney Perkes that it was rare for a doctor to be disciplined, allowed to return to practice and then disciplined again. She wanted to see if that was actually true, and so she asked the board for every record of a doctor who had petitioned for a license reinstatement.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

West Nile virus sign

Ah, summertime. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and the mosquitoes are biting. Yep, it's time for the annual West Nile virus story! Here are some tips and resources for covering this important public health issue without sounding like a public service announcement.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

An infectious disease spread to humans by mosquitoes that have bitten infected birds, West Nile virus historically was seen only in Africa, Europe and Asia before it was first detected in the United States in 1999. Though the majority of those infected show no symptoms, the disease can be deadly, particularly in the elderly. If West Nile virus enters the brain, it can cause encephalitis or meningitis. The major way to prevent infection is to avoid mosquitoes and to reduce mosquitoes in populated areas. Updated June 2010

Picture of William Heisel

A judge this week rejected an attempt by the state of California to temporarily ban Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.

Now the ball is in the Medical Board of California’s court. The board rightly sought to use the criminal justice system first to stop Murray from practicing.

But few reporters picked up on the fact that the criminal system isn’t the only route.

Picture of Linnie Frank Bailey

As Americans struggle with the aftermath of the health care reform bill, and try to determine exactly what it means for themselves and their families, the homeless population is often ignored. Most assume that homeless Americans get free medical care, but that is not necessarily the case. Even those who do have government-sponsored health care are forced to make difficult choices when health must compete with food, shelter, and transportation. This ongoing series of stories will detail the plight of the 'sick and homeless' in Riverside, California.

Picture of William Heisel

My friend Christopher Farnsworth recently published a book called Blood Oath. It’s about a vampire who works for the president. After a reading he gave last week, I asked him, “Knowing that you are only one book into a three-book deal, why did you decide to put Frankenstein, werewolves, a vampire and zombies all in the first book?” He said, “It’s the Jack Kirby school of writing. If you have it, put it all in.”

Picture of William Heisel

Have you ever gone in for an oil change and left with the suspicion that the mechanics didn’t do anything beyond opening your hood?

Anemona Hartocollis at The New York Times has exposed this same type of behavior in a much more critical venue: a local hospital. She wrote:

Picture of Julia  Scott

This week, several newspapers across California published my investigative series focusing on the threats posed by nitrates in groundwater. The full stories with accompanying sidebar can be read here, along with multimedia resources that include video, photo slideshows, and a three-part series on nitrates by KQED Radio.

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In this webinar, will look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a terrifying new reality for domestic violence victims, how organizations and authorities are trying to innovate in response, and how reporters can cover the story in their community. Sign-up here!

The 2020 National Fellowship is going online!Got a great idea for a reporting project on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable families or health disparities?  We'll help fund it, and provide you with five days of virtual training in July, plus six months of mentoring. Click here for more information.

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