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2017 California Data Fellowship

Event Type: 
Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 to Saturday, October 28, 2017
Program Description: 

The 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 $2,000 reporting stipend. Up to three of the 10 Fellows will also receive community engagement grants of $2,000. The Fellowship was designed for reporters who want to harness and analyze data that can shape health care decision-making, policy and legislation across California and beyond. It will help skilled journalists to mine health 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 – on procedures, providers, costs, conditions and demographics -- into reporting about health issues in their communities.  Editors were invited to participate in a half-day project brainstorming session with other Fellows and editors. Over the six months after the training, our highly skilled Senior Fellows, Paul Overberg, a distinguished data journalist at the Wall Street Journal, and Cheryl Phillips, Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Professional Journalism at Stanford University and a member of the California Civic Data Coalition, are providing guidance as each Fellow works on a substantive data-informed health journalism project of importance to his or her community. 

Click here for a list of the 2017 California Data Fellows and links to their bios, projects and blog posts.

The California Health Data Reporting Fund, a competitive grants program, underwrites substantive data-informed health reporting. Fellows receive $2,000 to support research and reporting. The Fund supports projects on health policy topics including mental health and substance abuse; healthcare costs and healthcare financing; the performance of California’s safety net; the patient experience; the healthcare workforce; health care coordination; the use of opioid drugs; end of life and palliative care; telemedicine and the use of technology in health care delivery; data transparency and the health care industry; maternity care and cancer care.  

The Community Engagement Fund provides grants of $2,000 to three of the California Data Fellows to underwrite innovative community engagement strategies. Click here to read a blog post by Center Director Michelle Levander and watch a video about the goals of the grants.





Who Can Apply: 

USC Annenberg seeks journalists who think big and want to have an impact. 

This Fellowship is open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media who are either based in California or who work for a national outlet that has a California footprint. The projects need to be primarily reported in California on topics of concern for Californians. Applicants do not need to be full-time health reporters, but should have a demonstrated interest in health issues, broadly defined to include the health of communities. 

We prefer that applicants have a minimum of three years of professional experience; many have decades. Journalists writing for ethnic media are strongly encouraged to apply. Proposals for collaborative projects between mainstream and ethnic news outlets receive preference, as do projects produced for co-publication or co-broadcast in both mainstream and ethnic news outlets. Freelancers who apply should earn the majority of their income from journalism. Students and interns are ineligible

Applicants should be able to demonstrate competency in using a spreadsheet. Applicants will be expected to have a minimal skill level or be asked to take an online course on Excel usage befeore coming to L.A.  Since the Fellowship is highly interactive, Fellows must also bring a laptop to the sessions and pre-load it with the software that will be used during the trainiing.

What You Will Gain 

Knowledge and Skills: Fellows will receive intensive training in data acquisition, cleansing, analysis and visualization techniques from some of the best data journalists in the business.  Fellows will gain insights into how to document health and demographic trends in their local communities.

Financial Support and Mentoring: California Data Fellows each receive a reporting stipend of $2,000-$3,500 to offset the costs of ambitious investigative and explanatory journalism, including data acquisition. Journalism fellows also receive six months of mentoring from senior journalists as they usher their projects to completion. 

Click here for a list of 2017 California Data Fellows and descriptions of their Fellowship projects.  Click here for a list of our inaugural class of 2015 Fellows and links to their Fellowship projects.

How to Apply

Click here for details about what we're looking for in your application.  Click here for the link to our online application for the Data Fellowship and here for a link to the separate application for a Community Engagement Grant. For general iinfornation about the Data Fellowship and to arrange a phone consultation with one of our data trainers (required before applying), write Martha Shirk at For more information about the Community Engagement Grants, write Olivia Henry, the Center's engagement editor, at  








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