Public Release: 

Journalism fellowships will highlight new developments in aging

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, has received renewed grant support to welcome its seventh cohort of fellows. To date, the 2016 funders of the program include The Silver Century Foundation, AARP, The Retirement Research Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation.

For the past six years, this co-venture -- responsible for more than 400 news stories by 102 alumni to date -- has largely centered around GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting and in-depth stories proposed by each fellow.

"The journalists we have welcomed to the program have produced award-winning coverage of aging issues, and the diversity of their stories has been amazing," said Paul Stearns, MS, GSA's senior director of membership, communications, and branding. "We're grateful to our grant partners for helping us to connect these reporters with experts and trusted sources of information on aging, and to keep America adequately informed about the state of aging in this country."

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 2016 will take place from November 16 to 20 in New Orleans, Louisiana -- with the theme of "New Lens on Aging: Changing Attitudes, Expanding Possibilities." The fellowship requires participating reporters to deliver a story from the conference and a major piece or series in the following months.

"This year's conference theme of the need to change our attitudes and expand our possibilities through the lens of an aging applies more than ever to today's media," said NAM Executive Director Sandy Close, a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" fellow and Academy Award-winning documentary producer. "Our fellowship collaboration with GSA has been essential for educating reporters and the increasingly diverse communities they inform about the challenges of growing older."

On arriving in New Orleans, 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 2016 application deadline is Friday, July 29.

Previous fellows also will be eligible for support to attend the New Orleans 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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