First Call: Data skills training for journalists, $2,000-$3,500 reporting grants

We’re writing to alert you to an exciting opportunity for journalists who are interested in honing their data analysis and visualization skills — the Center for Health Journalism’s all-expenses-paid 2019 National Data Fellowship, which comes with       3 1/2 days of interactive training, six months of mentoring and a $2,000-$3,500 reporting stipend.

Our 15-year-old Center is known nationally as the pre-eminent national journalism training program on community health and vulnerable children issues. With an explosion of data sets now available to any journalist with a computer and a high-speed internet connection, we’re pleased to be able to offer our fourth data skills fellowship.

What We Offer

We’ll bring 16 competitively selected journalists to Los Angeles at our expense from October 23-26; provide them with 3 1/2 days of intensive skills-based training in data acquisition, cleansing, analysis and visualization; and then send them home with reporting grants to work on ambitious health- or child welfare, health or wellbeing-related reporting project. Three of the nation’s most respected data journalists will lead the sessions and serve as mentors over the next six months–Meghan Hoyer, data editor for The Associated Press; Paul Overberg, a data reporter for the Wall St. Journal; and Stanford Professor Cheryl Phillips, former data innovation editor at the Seattle Times–with assistance from other top data journalists from around the country. We’ll also bring your editor to L.A. for a day or two to take part in an Editor-Fellow brainstorming workshop.

What We’re Looking For

Applicants must be comfortable using Excel and propose an ambitious data-informed Fellowship project. The Data Fellowship has identified priority areas for projects:

From applicants from outside California, the Center seeks proposals for projects that explore child welfare, juvenile justice and child health and well-being issues, including, but not limited to, the impact of chronic stress, poverty and childhood trauma on child development; juvenile justice; the intersection between partner violence and child abuse; the role of policy in improving prospects for children; community violence; child illness, injury and mortality trends; the intersection of race/ethnicity and/or class in child and family outcomes; strengths-based approaches to improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families; creative financing strategies; cross-agency strategies to treat and prevent the impacts of child maltreatment on children and families; and innovative solutions.

For applicants from California, we’re interested in proposals for projects on topics such as community health issues; health-related environmental justice issues; racial, ethnic, economic and geographic health disparities; mental health and substance abuse; the performance of California’s safety net; the possible consequences of the rollback of health care reform and social supports for low-income people; health challenges for immigrants; and innovative solutions to the state’s health care challenges. We welcome proposals from California journalists that are focused on children and families, but they should also meet one of the above criteria.

One Data Fellow will be eligible for a $3,500 grant (in lieu of the $2,000 grant) for a project that focuses on pregnant women or children 5 and under in Los Angeles County. And supplemental community engagement grants of up to $2,000 will be available to a few California Fellows.

Want to know more? Check our website.

Note: The deadline for applying is August 23.  We require applicants to have a conversation in advance of applying with one of our data experts. Email Martha Shirk at to arrange.

Center for Health Journalism

University of Southern California

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