America's top age beat reporters chosen for journalism fellowship

October 04, 2012

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and New America Media (NAM) have selected 18 reporters for the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows Program, now in its third year. They represent a wide range of mainstream and ethnic media outlets, including several daily newspapers and NPR affiliates.

The fellows will convene during GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting -- scheduled for November 14 to 18 in San Diego -- and utilize over 500 presentations and 4,000 expert attendees to develop a major aging-focused story or series.

These proposed projects, to be published in 2013, will span such concerns as family caregiving, the struggles of aging veterans, financial elder abuse, and the challenges faced by older American women.

"Our fellows provide an invaluable service by sharing new knowledge about aging from our meeting with America's diverse population," said GSA Deputy Executive Director Linda Harootyan, MSW. "We provide a unique venue to help them understand everything from the latest discoveries in the health sciences to the impact of the 2012 election on older adults."

The fellowship program is funded by a grant from the MetLife Foundation. And as a result of additional support from the John A. Hartford Foundation this year, one reporter has been designated as the John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow.

NAM founder and Executive Editor Sandy Close said, "Today's fractured media landscape has made it increasingly difficult for elders and their families to get information they need to face the challenges so many face of retirement insecurity. The MetLife Foundation fellowships enable us to expand this vital covering."

In San Diego, the fellows also will report on new discoveries in aging and participate in a day-long workshop, where experts will discuss the latest research and provide insight on key issues facing older Americans. Travel grants also are being provided to allow previous years' fellows to participate in the meeting. A continuously updated list of stories generated by the program's participants is available at

Harootyan co-directs the program with Paul Kleyman, senior editor of NAM's ethnic elders newsbeat. Kleyman is also the founder and national coordinator of the Journalists Network on Generations, which includes more than 1,000 writers on aging.

The new fellows:

Liana Aghajanian (The Atlantic)
Fellowship topic: Medical marijuana and seniors

Eric Anderson, MD (Physician's Money Digest)
Fellowship topic: How doctors and their staff can prepare for the huge rise in numbers of aging patients

Eileen Beal (Today's Caregiver Magazine)
Fellowship topic: Financial elder abuse

Carolyn Beeler (WHYY-FM, Philadelphia)
Fellowship topic: HIV among elders

Thandisizwe Chimurenga (Los Angeles Sentinel)
Fellowship topic: Digital divide for black grandparents

Ellen Endo (Rafu Shimpo)
Fellowship topic: Caregiving crisis for Japanese Americans

Cristina Fresquez (The Weekly Issue/El Semanario)
Fellowship topic: Parkinson's and Latinos

Thomas Goldsmith (The [Raleigh] News & Observer)
Fellowship topic: Isolation of elders, especially those of color and with low income

Alma Yolanda Gonzalez Gomez (HuffPost Voces)
Fellowship topic: Life and health for Latino elders on the Texas-Mexico border

Martina Guzman (KDET-FM, Detroit)
Fellowship topic: Food, faith, and quality care for Latino and Arab elders

Jane Glenn Haas (Orange County Register/McClatchy News Service)
Fellowship topic: Women at midlife in America

Peter McDermott (The Irish Echo)
Fellowship topic: The lives and roles of older working class Irish immigrants, and a Chicago program to train geriatric social workers to bring that knowledge to Ireland

Lygia Navarro ("Radio Ambulante"/"Latino USA")
Fellowship topic: Challenges for Latino veterans of the Vietnam War

Mohammed Ozeir (Arab American News)
Fellowship topic: Realities of aging for Arab Americans

Matt Perry (California Health Report)
Fellowship topic: Restraints vs. freedom in California nursing homes

Conrado "Sluggo" Rigor (Filipino-American Bulletin/Filipino-American Radio)
Fellowship topic: Struggles and history of Filipino World War II veterans

Barbara Peters Smith (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow
Fellowship topic: The home care revolution

Rita Watson (Providence Journal)
Fellowship topic: Nursing home care and cognitive enrichment for residents, including those with Alzheimer's disease
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 5,400+ 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 national collaboration and advocate for over 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Nearly 60 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries, and to America through ethnic media, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with editors in New York and Washington, DC.

The MetLife Foundation, the funder for this project, was created in 1976 by MetLife to continue its longstanding tradition of contributions and community involvement. Its goal is to empower people to lead healthy, productive lives and strengthen communities. The foundation typically makes grants related to the areas of health, education, civic affairs, and culture.

The Gerontological Society of America

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