Public Release: 

Journalism fellowships will increase media spotlight on aging issues

The Gerontological Society of America

The Journalists in Aging Fellows Program, run jointly by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and New America Media (NAM) since its launch in 2010, will continue thanks to renewed funding support from The Silver Century Foundation.

For the past five years, this co-venture -- responsible for more than 300 news stories by 84 alumni to date -- has largely centered around GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting and in-depth stories proposed by each fellow.

"We grateful to The Silver Century Foundation for recognizing the value that this program has provided," said Paul Stearns, MS, GSA's senior director of membership, communications, and branding. "As the nation's older demographic grows, America's reporters need trusted sources of information on aging, and the experts in the field must have reliable outlets for disseminating their latest research."

The program is co-directed by Todd Kluss, MA, GSA's senior manager of communications, and Paul Kleyman, the senior editor of NAM's ethnic elders newsbeat and national coordinator of the Journalists Network on Generations.

As in previous years, half of the fellows will be selected from general audience media and half from ethnic media outlets that serve communities within the U.S.

The centerpiece of the program will be the fellows' participation in GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting, which in 2015 will take place from November 18 to 22 in Orlando, Florida. The fellowship requires participating reporters to deliver a story from the conference and a major piece or series in the following months.

"While researchers at the conference show the gaps and gains in longevity, including disturbing differences by race, ethnicity, gender and education, journalists can work with them to bring those scientific findings to diverse communities," said NAM Executive Director Sandy Close, a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" fellowship.

On arriving in Orlando, the fellows will participate in a workshop the day before the GSA meeting begins. This session will showcase research highlights from the meeting and host discussions with veteran journalists on how to position aging stories in the current media environment.

All applications for the fellowship program will be reviewed by a selection committee of journalists and experts in aging. The criteria will include clarity and originality of proposed in-depth story projects; quality of samples of published or produced work; and high-impact potential of proposals geographically and across different ethnic or racial populations. The 2015 application deadline is Friday, August 21.

Previous fellows also will be eligible for support to attend the Orlando meeting to cover the newest developments in the field of aging. A continuously updated list of stories from the fellows is available at http://www.geron.org/journalistfellows.

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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.

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