In a world of economic downturns, budget cuts, decreased funding and story fatigue, what does the future of global health journalism look like?
The Pulitzer Center is building collaborations with foundations and academic institutions to promote a robust future for global health journalism. Along with other like-minded initiatives, the Pulitzer Center’s collaborations are aimed at addressing the neglect of systemic global issues in mainstream media. These opportunities are made possible through the Pulitzer Center’s general reporting grants, its partnership with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and opportunities within its Campus Consortium program to pair students with Pulitzer journalists to report on global health and other under reported issues.
This summer, three Pulitzer Center health fellows will tackle a range of topics.
From the first Pulitzer Center-Nieman Global Health Fellows class of 2010:
Antigone Barton will be reporting on HIV/AIDS from Zambia. Antigone is also a former reporter for The Palm Beach Post and a Pulitzer Center grantee who has written extensively on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.
Helen Branswell will focus on the potential to eradicate polio. She writes specifically on the search for those who host the virus, without being affected, and then excrete the virus, which endangers eradication efforts. Helen is a medical reporter for The Canadian Press.
Through the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium partnership with Boston University’s College of Communication, School of Public Health and Center for Global Health and Development:
Anna Tomasulo is working in the Pulitzer Center’s Washington, DC office before joining a Pulitzer Center reporter to cover maternal health in Nepal. Anna recently received her MPH from Boston University and has focused her studies on French, HIV/AIDS in marginalized populations, and the intersection of health and human rights.
This fall, the newest Pulitzer Center-Nieman Global Health Fellows will begin their time at Harvard. They are Samuel Loewenberg, freelance reporter based in Berlin, and Rema Nagarajan, assistant editor at The Times of India, based in India.
These initiatives offer hope for the future of global health journalism. In February 2011, the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation released a report, addressing the future of this specialized area of journalism. The report covers 51 interviews with stakeholders in global health journalism, ranging from editors to journalists to funders of journalism. The current state of global health journalism, according to the report, is one characterized by decreased travel budgets, decreased fees for global health stories, freelance journalists leaving the field, decreased interest in HIV/AIDS, increased interest in domestic concerns and increased local news coverage.
Yet initiatives such as the Nieman Global Health Fellowship and the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium are grounds for optimism. Among other new efforts in this vein is a recent partnership among the Kaiser Family Foundation, GlobalPost, and the Columbia School of Journalism, providing funds and fellowships for GlobalPost reporting on international health issues and U.S. health policy. This collaboration includes Global Pulse, a blog to cover President Barack Obama’s Global Health Initiative that will feature reporting by Hanna Ingber Win, who is also a Pulitzer Center grantee. The International Reporting Project has created a similar fellowship program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that sends U.S. journalists abroad to report on global issues neglected by mainstream media.