Fellowship Recognizes America’s Top “Aging” Journalists

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and New America Media (NAM) have selected 17 reporters for the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows Program, now in its fourth year. They represent a wide range of mainstream and ethnic media outlets, including several daily newspapers and NPR affiliates.

The fellows will convene during GSA’s Annual Scientific Meeting — scheduled for November 20 to 24 in New Orleans — and utilize over 400 presentations and 4,000 expert attendees to develop a major aging-focused story or series.

These proposed projects, to be published in 2014, will span such concerns as palliative care, abuses from health care aides, and retirement and work challenges for older immigrants.

“GSA’s meeting showcases the latest research on aging and our fellows provide an invaluable service by disseminating that knowledge to the American public,” said GSA Deputy Executive Director Linda Harootyan, MSW. “We provide a unique venue where these reporters can interact with experts to better understand scientific discoveries, social and policy debates, and solutions to the issues facing older people.”

The fellowship program is funded by a grant from the MetLife Foundation. And as a result of additional support from the John A. Hartford Foundation, one reporter has been designated as the John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow.

“The growing insecurity of elders, especially those from diverse communities, makes it essential that both ethnic and mainstream media tell their stories and expose the threats to their retirement future,” said NAM founder and Executive Editor Sandy Close. “The GSA conference provides reporters the research they need to inform the public and place these vital issues in context.”

In New Orleans, the fellows also will report on new discoveries in aging and participate in a day-long workshop, where experts will discuss the latest research and provide insight on key issues facing older Americans. Travel grants also are being provided to allow previous years’ fellows to participate in the meeting. A continuously updated list of stories generated by the program’s participants is available at www.geron.org/journalistfellows.

Harootyan co-directs the program with Paul Kleyman, senior editor of NAM’s ethnic elders newsbeat. Kleyman is also the founder and national coordinator of the Journalists Network on Generations, which includes more than 1,000 writers on aging.

The new fellows:

Jason Alcorn (InvestigateWest)
Fellowship topic: Inequalities in the delivery of health care and information about Alzheimer’ disease in Washington as steps are taken by the state to set future policy directions.

Matthew S. Bajko (Bay Area Reporter)
Fellowship topic: How San Francisco plans to fulfill recommendations of its LGBT Aging Policy Task Force report.

Jose de la Isla (Scripps Howard’s Hispanic Link News Service)
Fellowship topic: Immigrant Latino caregivers (often undocumented) working “off the books.”

Joaqlin Estus (KNBA-FM, Anchorage)
Fellowship topic: The shortage of health care workers, new technologies, and aging in place in Alaska.

Christopher Farrell (Next Avenue)
Fellowship topic: Retirement and work challenges for older immigrants, specifically Chinese elders in San Francisco and Hmong seniors in St. Paul.

Elizabeth Isele (Next Avenue/Forbes)
Fellowship topic: Older middle- and lower-income seniors in the longevity economy.

Colleen Ann Keane (Navajo Times)
Fellowship topic: Profiles of three traditional Navajo artisans preserving heritage for new generations.

Yanick Rice Lamb (MSNBC’s theGrio.com)
John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow
Fellowship topic: Guides for caregiving and dementia-care for African Americans.

Jennifer Margulis (AARP The Magazine)
Fellowship topic: National shortage of home health aides and the growth of abuses by unchecked aides.

Melinda Miller (The Buffalo News)
Fellowship topic: Gambling addiction among elders and casinos that target them.

Wallace Roberts (NAACP’s The Crisis Magazine)
Fellowship topic: Racism in long-term care and Medicaid for African American seniors.

Gary Rotstein (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Fellowship topic: The experience and perceptions of death and dying among the older population, how that has changed over time, and what present trends hold for the future

Connie Sexton (Arizona Republic)
Fellowship topic: A look at how seniors from varying cultures confront decisions on palliative care, end of life, and pain management.

Sunita Sohrabji (India-West)
Fellowship topic: The Affordable Care Act’s impact on older Indian immigrants.

Alice Thomas-Tisdale (Jackson Advocate Newspaper)
Fellowship topic: Nursing home care in Mississippi’s inner city and rural facilities.

Dawn M. Williams (Senior News 50 and Better!)
Fellowship topic: Healthy aging through physical activity and good nutrition.

Veronica Zaragovia (KUT Public Radio, Austin)
Fellowship topic: Contrast between health care access in rural and urban Texas, resources for Vietnam veterans suffering from mental distress and addiction; and challenges facing older same-sex couples.

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