The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and New America Media (NAM) have selected 19 reporters for the Journalists in Aging Fellows Program, now in its fifth year. They represent a wide range of general audience and ethnic media outlets, including several daily newspapers, national publications, and public radio affiliates.
The fellows will convene during GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting — scheduled for November 5 to 9 in Washington, DC — and utilize the more than 400 presentations and 4,000 expert attendees to develop a major aging-focused story or series. These proposed projects, to be published in 2015, will span such concerns as elder abuse, aging in ethnic populations, and financial security.
"These distinguished reporters will be covering issues that most Americans will face at some point in their lives, whether as a caregiver for a loved one or as an older adult themselves," said GSA Deputy Executive Director Linda Harootyan, MSW. "Our meeting provides a unique venue to help them understand everything from the latest discoveries in the health sciences to social and policy debates related to aging."
The fellows program receives major funding from AARP, plus a substantial grant from the Silver Century Foundation and additional support from the John A. Hartford Foundation.
"This fellowship bridges reporters to diverse experts across a wide range of subjects in aging, some of which can be difficult — even taboo topics, such as mental illness or end-of-life care," said NAM Executive Director Sandy Close. "Our collaboration with GSA enables reporters to bring multicultural perspectives on these issues to their media audiences in voices they can trust."
In Washington, 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. Continuing fellowship 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 http://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:
Melody Miranda Aulet (Digital reporter, Cox Media Group's Mundo Hispánico, Atlanta)
Project: The lack of geriatric physicians (especially Spanish speakers), Hispanic elders' participation in clinical trials, such as for Alzheimer's disease, and in community programs.
Frank Browning (Contributor, Kaiser Health News and California Magazine)
Project: Emerging approaches to aging in place, such as the Village Model, through the lens of gender; also, an examination of how U.S. demographic shifts, especially in Asian and Latino communities, could affect the lives of older women.
Jennifer L. Boen (Health Columnist and Writer, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Indiana)
Project: Transforming culturally-relevant elder care, focusing on the growth of refugee and immigrant populations in the American heartland, such as from Burma, West Africa, and Latin America.
Jenny Chen (Editor, Asian Fortune Newsmagazine, Washington, DC)
Project: Mental health in the Asian American senior population.
Jen Chien (Senior producer, "Crosscurrents," KALW Public Radio, San Francisco, and NPR contributor)
Project: Social connections for seniors — from ethnic elders dancing for health to cultural barriers for ethnic elders to technology and social media.
Erica Curless (Features and age beat reporter, Spokesman-Review, Spokane)
Project: The lives of elders in small towns and in the countryside, from diehard individualists to those on Indian reservations.
Rachel Dornhelm (Freelance contributor, KQED Public Radio's "State of Health" blog and KQED Radio News, San Francisco)
Project: Overmedication in seniors.
Sandra J. Larson (Staff writer, Bay State Banner, Boston)
Project: The impact of gentrification on elders' housing.
Frederick H. Lowe (Founder/editor, NorthStar News & Analysis, Chicago)
Project: Series on older, African American men such as those with little or no Social Security income, often due to low lifetime wages; family caregiving challenges; and prison release at older ages.
Lisa Wong Macabasco (Contributor/former chief editor, Hyphen Magazine)
Project: The trend in remarriage among Chinese seniors, especially widowers and widows, who have remarried people from Asia, focusing on life and cultural challenges in America today for the aging Chinese population.
Laura McCamy (Freelance contributor, Oakland Local, California)
Project: Impact of gentrification on seniors in Oakland's Chinatown and the African American community on income security for seniors.
Greggory W. Morris (Contributor, BQ Brew, Brooklyn and Queens, New York)
Project: Ethnographic, street-level stories profiling the quality of life of elders in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York City: East New York, Brooklyn.
Kimberly Palmer (Business and personal finance writer, U.S. News & World Report)
Project: How changing health care needs and the medical system put stress on caregiving relationships (and finances) of aging Americans and their children.
Encarnacion Pyle (Human-services reporter, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio)
Project: Elder abuse in personal and public policy terms.
Sarita Sarvate ("Last Word" Columnist, India Currents Magazine)
Project: How modern pressures are rapidly changing multigenerational family structures, often leaving older adults isolated, facing cultural, language, transportation and economic barriers, even in the affluent Silicon Valley.
Liz Seegert (freelance writer/producer, "HealthStyles," WBAI, New York, and blogger, HealthCetera)
Project: Portraits of family caregiving among New York City's aging ethnic adults.
Elizabeth Simpson (Health writer, Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Virginia)
Project: Disruptive blending in assisted living facilities of seniors with younger mentally ill people often due to economic downsizing.
Mark Taylor (Chicago-based contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer)
Project: How the Affordable Care Act is impacting the way hospitals treat patients with chronic conditions.
Pamela Yip (Business and personal finance reporter/columnist, Dallas Morning News)
Project: The growing challenges of financial elder abuse for cognitively challenged seniors.
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 5,500+ 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) is the country's first and largest collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Over 60 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through their ethnic media outlets, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices in New York and Washington, DC, and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.