The MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows Program — responsible for nearly 200 news stories by 48 alumni to date — will continue for a fourth year thanks to a grant renewal from the MetLife Foundation. The program is run jointly by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and New America Media (NAM).
The chosen fellows — half to be selected from the mainstream media and half from ethnic media outlets that serve communities within the U.S. — will participate in GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans this November, and then deliver a story from the conference and a major piece or series in the following months.
"The quality and diversity of our fellows' stories so far have been amazing," said GSA Deputy Executive Director Linda Harootyan, MSW. "Without the support the fellowship provides, it would have been much more difficult for these reporters to gain the level of insight required to keep America adequately informed about the state of aging in this country."
The program is co-directed by Harootyan and Paul Kleyman, the senior editor of NAM's ethnic elders newsbeat and national coordinator of the Journalists Network on Generations, a collaborator on this project since its inception in 2010.
There will be a total of 17 fellows — including one reporter covering health and aging topics who will be designated as the John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow as the result of additional funding support from The John A. Hartford Foundation.
Ten previous fellows also will receive funds to come to the meeting in New Orleans to cover the newest developments in the field of aging. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that one-fifth of the country's population will be 65 and older by 2030. Additionally, those from ethnic and racial minorities are expected to make up 40 percent of this age group by 2050.
"This fellowship enables journalists to connect their audiences, especially under-served ethnic communities, with research-based information seniors need to face the complex issues that affect their lives," said NAM Founder and Executive Director Sandy Close.
All applications for the fellowship program will be reviewed by a selection committee of representatives from GSA and NAM. The criteria will include clarity and originality of proposed long-term projects; quality of samples of published or produced work; and high-impact potential of proposals geographically and across different ethnic or racial populations.
Upon arrival in New Orleans, the fellows will participate in a day-long pre-conference session. GSA will showcase research highlights from the meeting and host discussions with veteran journalists on how to position aging stories in the current media environment.
The current application and a continuously updated list of stories from previous years' fellows are available at http://www.geron.org/journalistfellows.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA's structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.
New America Media (NAM) organizes the nation's more than 2,500 ethnic news outlets. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM generates original content for and aggregates selected content from U.S. ethnic media that serve many cultures and communities. For more information, visit http://www.newamericamedia.org and click on "Elders."
The MetLife Foundation, the funder for this project, was created in 1976 by MetLife to continue its longstanding tradition of contributions and community involvement. Its goal is to empower people to lead healthy, productive lives and strengthen communities. The foundation typically makes grants related to the areas of health, education, civic affairs, and culture.
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