Top 10 NAM Stories of 2013 -- From Gay Marriage to Islamic Divorce

Top 10 NAM Stories of 2013 -- From Gay Marriage to Islamic Divorce

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Editor's Note: New America Media’s top stories of 2013 started conversations – from an investigative report that broke the news that DACA students could qualify for Medi-Cal, to a feature on Arab American women’s difficulty getting an Islamic divorce, which sparked a dialogue among Muslim religious leaders. Here is a look at New America Media’s top original and fellowship stories that broke new ground in 2013.

Barred from Federal Programs, DREAMers May Qualify for Medi-Cal


New America Media health editor Viji Sundaram broke a story last year when she discovered a little-known fact: recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in California actually qualify for state-subsidized Medi-Cal – but most don’t know it. Her story ran in dozens of media outlets across California, from La Opinión to China Press, and helped educate young uninsured immigrants about a health care program that many did not know was available to them.

'Imam Shopping' -- Muslim Women's Long Road to Islamic Divorce

A 2013 NAM Women Immigrants Fellowship story by Natasha Dado of The Arab American News, about the difficulties Muslim women have getting an Islamic divorce, sparked a dialogue among American imams. The week the story was published, a group of Muslim religious leaders met to discuss the article and how to eliminate the unreasonable obstacles that make it difficult for women to get divorced. They are now considering establishing an arbitration system that would prevent women from having to go "imam shopping" -- traveling across the country to find an imam who will approve her divorce.

Vietnamese Americans Exposed to Agent Orange Suffer in Silence


The impact of Agent Orange on the health of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam is well documented, but little attention has been paid to its effects on Vietnamese Americans. In a year-long investigation, New America Media environment editor Ngoc Nguyen found evidence that Vietnamese Americans suffer from high rates of cancer linked to Agent Orange, yet many are hesitant to talk about it, fearing that it could do political harm to the United States and help the communist government of Vietnam. Her story, supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, appeared on the cover of the San Jose Mercury News and 10 other newspapers, including leading Vietnamese and Asian American media in Orange County, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Children of Re-Entry

New America Media youth reporters produced a multimedia series telling the stories of parents returning home from incarceration, through the eyes of their children. The videos and photographs were presented at public forums in San Francisco and San Jose to an audience of advocates and statewide legislators who are looking to adopt "family-centric" strategies to reduce prison recidivism, in the wake of Governor Jerry Brown's recently implemented prison realignment policy. A final forum and screening is scheduled to take place in the State Capitol in early 2014.

Cultural Stigma Hurts Asian American Teens with Depression

Health reporter Katherine Kam’s three-part series for New America Media delved into traditionally taboo themes of depression in the Asian American community and the cultural stigma that prevents many from accessing mental health services. Her series, supported by a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, was re-published in 50 media outlets across the U.S., serving Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese and South Asian American audiences.

Q&A: Napolitano On Diversity, Academics and the Undocumented at U.C.

NAM editors Peter Schurmann and Jacob Simas interviewed former Homeland Security Secretary and newly appointed University of California President Janet Napolitano on what her appointment would mean for California students. Barely a month into her post, Napolitano shared her views on the importance of enhancing diversity and affordability at the state's premier public institute of higher learning. Translated into Spanish, Chinese and Korean, NAM's interview with Napolitano was published in ethnic media nationally, from The Korea Times to El Tiempo Latino.

It’s About Life – Changing Korean Americans' View of Palliative Care

Writing for The Korea Times, reporter Aruna Lee explored how Korean seniors and their families could benefit from greater openness about the difficult subject of end-of-life care. Her story was part of New America Media’s 2013 palliative care fellowship program.

As Obesity Grows, Mexico Eyes Richmond-Style Soda Tax

On special assignment in Mexico City last September, Edgardo Cervano-Soto was the first to report that Mexican health advocates and public officials – reeling from a United Nations report that shows Mexico is now the world’s most obese nation -- were looking to health experts in Richmond, Calif. for lessons on implementing their own national version of that city’s tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, Measure N, which lost at the polls in 2012. The story ran on the front page of Richmond Pulse, a bilingual monthly newspaper founded by New America Media. The Mexico “soda tax,” which went into effect on Jan. 1, is expected to renew the U.S. debate on taxing sugary drinks.

When the Levees Break – Again

India West reporter Sunita Sohrabji was the first journalist to cover the ways a dilapidated levee system in rural Northern California – ranked as one of the most vulnerable in the nation – impacted the cultural heritage of Punjabi farmers. Her story was part of NAM’s 2013 environmental fellowship program.

For LGBT Asians, Cultural Barriers to Marriage Remain After DOMA

Sing Tao Daily reporter Xiaoqing Rong profiled the ways Asian-American families are grappling with the traditional taboo issue of same-sex marriage – from one Chinese-American couple that chose not to get married because their parents did not approve (even though one of them needed a green card), to a Korean-American mother’s difficulty starting the first Asian PFLAG group in New York. Her story, which ran in Sing Tao Daily New York, was part of NAM’s 2013 LGBT immigration fellowship program.