Public Release: 

Fellowships will enhance reporters' aging coverage

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 eighth cohort of fellows. The 2017 funders include AARP, The Silver Century Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, The Retirement Research Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation.

For the past seven years, this program has been responsible for more than 450 news stories by 118 alumni to date. It has two goals: to educate journalists about issues in aging, better allowing them to spread a new awareness both to ethnic and general-audience populations; and to disseminate information about new scientific findings, policy debates, innovations, and evidence-based solutions.

"We are grateful to our grant partners for continuing to support the award-winning coverage that our program has produced," said Karen Tracy, GSA's senior director of strategic alliances and communications. "We help the participating reporters build bridges to expert sources on aging, to each other, and to their communities."

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 the World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, which GSA will host from July 23 to 27 in San Francisco, California -- with the theme of "Global Aging and Health: Bridging Science, Policy, and Practice." The fellowship requires participating reporters to deliver a story from the conference and a major piece or series in the following months.

"At this time of demographic turmoil, it's increasingly important for the media to tell the stories of ethnic elders, including so many immigrants, in their own voices and those of experts from diverse backgrounds," said NAM Executive Director Sandy Close, a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" fellow and Academy Award-winning documentary producer. "This year's World Congress should give our journalism fellows ample opportunities to report more deeply on how global aging is impacting communities throughout America."

On arriving in San Francisco, the fellows will participate in a daylong workshop before the World Congress 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 2017 application deadline is Friday, April 14.

Previous fellows also will be eligible for support to attend the World Congress 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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