Fellowships offer reporters valuable insight as America ages
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Journalists in Aging Fellows Program has received renewed grant support to welcome its ninth cohort of reporters. The 2018 funders to date include AARP, The Silver Century Foundation, The Retirement Research Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation.
Since its founding in 2010, this program has been responsible for approximately 600 news stories produced by 136 alumni. 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 have received tremendous feedback from previous journalist fellows, who share that the program has allowed them to make invaluable connections to expert sources on aging, to each other, and to their communities," said Todd Kluss, GSA's associate director of communications. "And GSA truly appreciates the support of our funding partners, who recognize that these connections are a key component to improving the lives of people as they age."
Kluss co-directs the Journalists in Aging Fellows Program together with Paul Kleyman, the founder and national coordinator of the program's media partner, the Journalists Network on Generations.
"America's rapid aging and growing diversity mean communities need a better understanding of the challenges of longevity from their perspectives and in their languages," Kleyman said. "This program provides reporters the knowledge and sources they need to bring this vital information to their local and national audiences."
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 2018 will take place from November 14 to 18 in Boston, Massachusetts — with the theme of "The Purposes of Longer Lives." The fellowship requires reporters to deliver a story from the conference and a major piece or series in the following months.
On arriving in Boston, the fellows will participate in a daylong workshop 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 gerontologists and editorial professionals. 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 2018 application deadline is Friday, June 29.
Several previous fellows also will be eligible for support to attend the GSA 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.
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 organization, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.
The Journalists Network on Generations, founded in 1993, is based in San Francisco. It links to over 1,000 journalists, authors, and producers on issues in aging, and publishes Generations Beat Online News (GBONews.org).