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About the Fellowships

What We Do


The USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellowships

Each year, we train competitively selected professional journalists from leading print, broadcast, ethnic and online media during three all-expenses-paid journalism institutes, one for California journalists and two for journalists  from across the nation. After the trainings, we partner with our Fellows and their news organizations to nurture ambitious journalism that impacts policy and spurs new community discussions. From time to time, we offer other specialized health journalism training opportunities as well. We have trained more than 900 journalists since 2005. Click here to read the hundreds of stories that our Fellows have produced, changing policy and winning journalism awards along the way.

The Fellowships are open to all journalists interested in health reporting, not just those on the health beat. We invite participation from print, broadcast, and multimedia journalists working for or contributing to mainstream and ethnic media outlets in the United States.

The program helps journalists to chronicle and illuminate the health and community challenges confronting an increasingly diverse and polyglot nation. With a historic health care expansion under assault in Washington, we also provide journalists with resources to report with sophistication and depth on one of the most important health policy challenges facing our nation. 

Our reporting Fellowships offer journalists a chance to step away from the newsroom to hone their health reporting skills, providing critical resources at a time of dramatic change in the media landscape. In workshops, field trips and discussions, Fellows learn from nationally renowned health experts, policy analysts and community health leaders, from top journalists in the field, and from each other. Participants "graduate" with a multitude of story ideas and sources, plus a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of good health journalism. We teach best journalistic practices and help journalists explore the root causes of ill health, including trauma during childhood, barriers to health care access, the built environment, unemployment, lack of education, exposure to community or domestic violence and lack of access to healthy food. The program is practical and inspiring, focusing on content as well as craft.  We emphasize solutions journalism, journalism with impact and community engagement approaches that help journalists to make a difference.

For up to six months afterwards, senior journalists guide Fellows as they complete ambitious explanatory or investigative Fellowship projects.

California Fellowship

Each year, we offer an all-expenses-paid Fellowship for California-based journalists and journalists based elsewhere who contribute primarily to California news outlets. The 2020 California Fellowship will be held in March 2020 (dates TBD).  This Fellowship will focus on safety net health issues and also take an in-depth look at how community conditions influence individuals' prospects for health. Each Fellow will receive a $1,000 grant to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious Fellowship project on a California health issue, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow. (Up to two Fellows will be eligible for a $3,500 grant to report on health, welfare, wellbeing and educational issues that affect pregnant women or children  in Los Angeles County from before birth through age 5.  In addition, up to five California Fellows will receive Community Engagement Grants of $1,000 to $2,000, as well as six months of specialized mentoring. The California Fellowship is supported by The California Endowment, the Blue Shield of California Foundation and First 5 LA. The 2018 California Fellowship was held March 18-22, 2018 on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles. 

Data Fellowship

The all-expenses-paid Data Fellowship, to be held October 23-26, 2019, will introduce journalists from both California and around the country to the wealth of health and child welfare and well-being datasets that can inform and elevate their reporting. Each Fellow receives a $2,000 grant to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious data-based Fellowship project, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow, and one Fellow will be eligible for a $3,500 grant to assist with reporting a project focused on pregnant women or children 5 and under in Los Angeles County. This Fellowship is funded by generous grants from the The California Endowment and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Community Engagement Fund will provide supplemental grants of up to $2,000 to several Data Fellows from California to underwrite innovative community engagement strategies.

National Fellowship

The 2019 National Fellowship  was held July 28-August 1.  It qA designed for journalists who want to do groundbreaking reporting on vulnerable children and families and the community conditions that contribute to their well-being. Each Fellow will return home to spend the next six months working on a substantive community health, child welfare or health policy project, assisted with a reporting grant of $2,000-$10,000 and six months of mentoring by one of our Senior Fellows. Click here to read a list of the 2019 National Fellows and access links to their profiles and project proposals. The Fellowship was supported by generous grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment.In conjunction with each National Fellowship, we administer two specialty reporting grants and a community engagement grant:

  • The Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, a competitive grants program to underwrite substantive reporting on community health issues. Each Hunt grantee receives $2,500 to $10,000 to support research on a community health topic. To read a selection of projects produced with the support of the Hunt Fund, click here.
  • The Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being, a competitive grants program to underwrite substantive reporting on vulnerable children.  Each Child Well-being grantee receives $2,500 to $10,000 to support research on vulnerable children and their families.
  • The Community Engagement Fund provides supplemental grants of $1,000 to $2,000 to underwrite innovative community engagement strategies. Each year, five National Fellows receive Community Engagement Grants, in addition to their reporting grants, as well as six months of mentoring from a community engagement specialist.  Click here to learn more about our community engagement initiative, and click here for a FAQ on the engagement grants. Click here to read a blog post by Center Director Michelle Levander and watch a video about the goals of the grants.

Center for Health Journalism Impact Fund

The USC Center for Health Journalism’s new Impact Fund provides support to California journalists who think big and want to make a difference in their communities. We welcome applications from journalists or newsrooms that want to tackle ambitious investigative or explanatory projects – by themselves, as a newsroom-wide undertaking or as a collaboration with other media outlets in their communities. The application period for 2019 is July 1-September 20.  In 2018, the Fund awarded five reporting grants of up to $10,000 each to support health projects put forward by individual reporters, intra-newsroom teams and a collaborative of multiple newsrooms. The California Wellness Foundation provides support for the Impact Fund.

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