MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows Program
The 2012 application deadline is July 1.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and New America Media (NAM) are welcoming applications — from journalists who cover issues in aging and/or who work for ethnic media outlets serving U.S. communities — for the third year of a joint fellowship program underwritten by the MetLife Foundation. Stories resulting from the last two years are available on GSA's website.
By 2030, the number of Americans age 65 and over will double to 70 million, with a growing percentage of them coming from ethnic minority populations. The health and social consequences permeate every aspect of life in this country. For example, the first members of the huge baby boomer generation began receiving full Social Security benefits on January 1. While America’s mainstream media have largely ignored this emerging story, most communities are poorly informed about the significant challenges — and opportunities — of the longevity revolution.
New this year, the John A. Hartford Foundation is supporting one John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow, who will report on topics specifically related to the health and health care of older Americans.
Dates and Location
Selected Fellows will attend GSA’s 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting, which is taking place in San Diego from Wednesday, November 14, to Sunday, November 18. This event regularly welcomes over 3,000 experts in the field of aging and the schedule includes hundreds of symposia, papers and posters — all featuring new research presented for the first time. At the meeting, reporters will find ideas for new stories and fresh angles on existing topics from Alzheimer’s disease to Social Security and Medicare.
Each Fellow will be expected to participate in a special one-day preconference session (Wednesday, November 14) and at least two days of general meeting sessions (Thursday, November 15, and Friday, November 16). Fellows will also commit to completing one short-term story about any aspect of the meeting and a long-term in-depth project of their own design. The latter must be outlined in a one-to-two page proposal.
All articles must be published, broadcast, or posted through distributed or circulated news media entities rather than personal blogs, and will be required to include a note at the beginning or end noting that it was written/produced in conjunction with the fellowship. (Reporters will be provided text samples that may be adapted for different media.) The stories must reach an audience within the U.S.
This MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship program will be fully administered by GSA and NAM. Neither the MetLife Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, nor any connected corporate entities will have any involvement with or influence on the selection of proposals or editorial aspects of the projects.
Short-term stories: Fellows must produce a story of no less than 500 words (or comparable broadcast length) stemming directly from any aspect of the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting. The piece must be completed no later than December 18, 2012, and scheduled to be disseminated no later than December 31, 2012. The story can be a news report, feature, or commentary/blog covering the meeting itself or a study or discussion presented therein. Unlike the long-term project (see below), applicants need not propose a topic for the short-term story ahead of time, nor do they have to obtain advance approval from an editor/producer that the piece will be considered as an editorial assignment for publication or broadcast. The subject matter also need not be related to that of the long-term project. Selected Fellows will be permitted to publish their short-term and long-term pieces through different media organizations, but it is still the Fellow's responsibility to see that the pieces are published in such a case. Therefore, applicants should indicate where they expect to place the short-term story if it will appear in a different news outlet than the long-term project.
The GSA meeting includes hundreds of symposia, papers, and posters in dozens of topic areas. Some months prior to the conference, reporters will be able to consult the interactive meeting planner, which contains the full program schedule.
Long-term projects: Each Fellow will submit a proposal outlining a major story or series that she or he intends to research and write. The story or series should be of the Fellow's own design, documenting and explaining a pressing issue that elders and their families or communities are facing.
The project deadline will be March 1, 2013, and it must be scheduled to be disseminated no later than June 1, 2013. The story or series need not be based on any session at the Annual Scientific Meeting, although reporters are invited to interview expert presenters or utilize articles published in GSA’s peer-reviewed journals.
Fellowship applicants are invited to make proposals on a wide range of subjects, such as caregiving challenges; dementia and its impact; intergenerational activities; healthy aging (including wellness and physical activity); safety education (e.g., falls and fall prevention); health disparities; elder abuse prevention; depression and social isolation; hunger; medication challenges; lifelong learning; art and creativity for older adults; aging in place; age-friendly communities; older-worker issues (e.g., career retraining and encore careers); and civic engagement (mentoring, volunteering, or otherwise “giving back” to society). Projects may, but are not required to, reflect at least one element of population diversity. This may include the involvement of diverse experts or facts about an issue’s effect on racial or ethnic groups.
(New in 2012) Applicants interested in specifically covering health and aging topics may apply as a John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow. While not restricted to the following health care topics, added consideration will be given to applicants who propose long-term projects covering: health care workforce issues and the ability of health professionals to deliver skilled geriatric care; the education and training of geriatric specialists in medicine, nursing, and social work; and models of health care delivery that integrate and improve services for older patients.
Both staff journalists and freelancers who apply must submit an agreement by his or her editor/producer to accept the long-term project proposal as an editorial assignment for publication or broadcast. Those who also serve as the principal editor/producer of a news outlet are also welcome to apply. These journalists need not provide a separate editor/producer’s assurance, but they should make their dual role as writer and editor/producer clear in the proposal.
Although the primary editor/producer for stories will be at each reporter’s news outlet, Fellows will be encouraged to consult with project editor Paul Kleyman of NAM and the Journalists Network on Generations. With almost 40 years of experience writing on issues in aging, Kleyman works with journalists to consult with them on sources and background.
The stories resulting from this fellowship will first be published by each journalist’s media organization(s). NAM, GSA, the MetLife Foundation, and the John A. Hartford Foundation will then have the option to cross-post the stories — with full credit and links back to the primary publisher — and make them available to websites or, in the case of NAM, its network of ethnic media outlets.
Because journalists sometimes apply from media outlets with formats differing from that of NAM, such as those publishing magazine-length articles, selected reporters may be required to work with NAM’s editor to adapt articles to their approach. This may result in a shorter article or series of articles suitable for news service distribution. NAM will take responsibility for such editing, and Fellows will have the right of final approval for adaptations before they are published.
Reporters proposing stories to be published or broadcast in a language other than English must agree to provide an English translation to NAM and GSA within two weeks of initial publication, or to provide images with a separate audio narration in English for radio or video stories. Multimedia slide shows should be provided with image captions in English. (All such stories would be cross-posted by NAM or GSA with links back to the story in the original language.)
Stipend and Travel
Each Fellow will receive a stipend of $1,500, with half to be paid on arrival at the meeting and the rest upon completion of the long-term project. GSA will arrange and pay for all flights and hotel bookings (up to four nights — November 13, 14, 15, and 16) in San Diego, and qualifying local travel expenses (e.g., cab, train, or bus fares) will be reimbursed. Fellows may stay in San Diego the night of Saturday, November 17, to attend the meeting’s final half day of sessions on Sunday, November 18, although this and further lodging/travel costs will be the responsibility of the individual or his or her news organization.
Selection Process and Eligibility
The fellowship selection panel will include experts in gerontology and editorial professionals from NAM and GSA.
All journalists are eligible to apply except for past recipients of this MetLife Fellowship. They will be notified separately of an opportunity to apply for a travel grant to attend the GSA meeting.
For further details about fellowship requirements and potential stories, contact NAM Ethnic Elders Editor Paul Kleyman at email@example.com or (415) 503-4170, ext. 133. For further details about how to submit an application, contact GSA Communications Manager Todd Kluss at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 587-2839.