MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship

New America Media, News Report, Author, Posted: Sep 07, 2010

New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) are pleased to announce this year’s MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows. Selected from a pool of nearly 75 applications, this year’s 15 fellows offer a broad cross-section of project proposal and media outlets. Half of the chosen in-depth projects are from ethnic media and half are from mainstream journalists who cover issues in aging.

Among the chosen projects (to be published early in 2011) are pieces on:

  • The struggles of grandparents raising their grandchildren.
  • The latest innovations in elder-friendly housig for seniors.
  • How to plan for retirement during a recession.
  • The challenges elderly immigrants face in the United States.
  • How to cope with the aftermath of multiple disasters on the Gulf Coast.

Many of the Fellows will help New America Media bring the story of America’s elders and aging to many of the ethnic media’s over 60 million audience members -- readers and viewers who often find the mainstream media miss or misrepresent their perspectives on important stories.

MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship program comes at a significant point, just as the first of the 78 million boomer turn age 65 beginning in January 2011. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s older population will almost double to 70 million by 2030, while the proportion of ethnic elders will double to 40 percent of America’s 65-plus population by 2050.

GSA Deputy Executive Director Linda Harootyan will co-direct the project with Paul Kleyman, the senior editor of NAM’s ethnic elders newsbeat. Kleyman is also founder and national coordinator of the Journalists Network on Generations, including more than 1,000 writers on aging.

Funded by the MetLife Foundation, the Journalists in Aging Fellowship provide journalists with a $1,500 stipend toward completion of their in-depth projects. The Fellowship program will also bring the reporters to GSA’s Annual Scientific Meeting, in New Orleans starting Nov. 19, the major research conference in aging with more than 500 presentations and papers.

Each reporter will write at least one short-term article about any research or program stemming from the conference. Then Fellows will write or produce a major piece in the coming months based on their proposals.

Here is a list of the 2010 MetLife Fellows and their project:

ALT
Sally Abrahms, Freelance Writer, AARP Bulletin, will open the doors on innovative housing options for seniors in three articles on intergenerational co-housing; small, residential “Green Houses” aimed at radically transforming institutional care for frail elders; and innovative intergenerational nursing homes.


ALT
Jane Adler, Freelance Writer, Chicago Tribune, will explore how age-friendly communities can combat loneliness and depression in our aging nation, as long-time friends leave the neighborhood—or die—adult children move far away, and frailty takes its physical toll on one’s mobility. A national movement has emerged in recent years to promote innovations in elder-friendly communities and buildings that reduce social isolation.

ALT
April Dembosky, Independent Journalist, San Jose Mercury News, will explore intergenerational issues in the hospice and palliative care field. The recognition of palliative care as a medical specialty in 2008, has spurred growth of this field in hospitals and medical schools - but it has also resulted in a generational gap between the new and young crop of end-of-life care doctors and their patients.

ALT
Adolfo Flores, Editor and Reporter, El Nuevo Sol and Pasadena Star-News, will focus on grandparents raising or helping to raise their grandchildren. In four articles with multimedia components, Flores will examine how grandparents often ease the struggle of Latino parents in trying to raise children, the lack of programs and outreach to communities of color, health issues that grandparents face in parenting, as well as the quality of education grandparents are helping these children receive.

ALT
Shaleece Haas, Contributor, KCAW-Raven Radio. Her three-part series for statewide public radio will examine how Native Alaskan and other seniors are accessing - or failing to access - the services they need, given program cuts in recent years. Pieces will provide an overview of elders’ needs, explore how community services in small Alaska towns and villages help fill the gap and provide elder caring for their elderly, and show how caregivers are helping their aging parents, often from a distance.

ALT
Christina Hernandez, Freelance Journalist, Philadelphia Inquirer, will expose the hidden epidemic of falls affecting elders in the largely African American and Latino community of Camden, N.J. Preventable falls are a major concern in our aging society and lead to major injuries, brain trauma and death. But their affects also may be compounded by limited access to care that plagues many low-income communities. Hernandez will write a major article or series with multimedia components.

ALT
Janice N. Lloyd, Senior Reporter and Blogger, Life Department, USA Today, will center on how exercise -- and what kinds of exercise -- enhance the quality of life of aging baby boomers who plan to keep living in their current homes as long as possible, those living in 55-plus communities, and an older people living in assisted living facilities. How, if at all, do new technologies (apps, Nikeplus gadgets for Nanos, pedometers) help? And what about exercise approaches such as running marathons, walking daily, playing tennis, or focusing on balance and posture through Pilates, Tai Chi or yoga? Written pieces will also include a video component.

ALT
Katrina L. Rogers, News Reporter, New Orleans Agenda will write a series of up to five articles with video delving into the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster on the lives of elders on the Gulf Coast. The series will examine the effects on seniors from the urban neighborhoods of New Orleans to African American fishing communities and how their families are overlooked and silenced by the mainstream media.


ALT
Nayita Wilson, Contributing Writer, The Louisiana Weekly, will write “Wise Investments,” a series on the challenges African Americans face in saving for and financing their retirement years. In two articles, Wilson will explore how well off boomers are financially as they transition into the next phase of life; what economic racial differences or disparities may be at work for older African Americans; and how effective are financial planning and pre-retirement investments for them.

ALT
Warren Wolfe, Staff Writer, Minneapolis Star Tribune, has written about issues in aging for nearly two decades. His Fellowship project comes as the first of Minnesota’s 1.5 million boomers approach age 65 in 2011. The project, titled, “Who will care for the aged? The need for geriatric health specialists,” will examine the shortage of trained geriatric workers in every health profession - from nursing aides to physicians.

ALT
Rong Xiaoqing, Reporter, Sing Tao Daily will explore how the dramatic increase of interracial marriages among young Asians in recent years affects the life of their aging parents. Asian seniors often find traditions and family obligations to care for them upended when a white husband or Hispanic wife enters the family.


ALT
Mohamud Yussuf, Chief Editor, Runta Somali News Magazine, proposed three stories to be disseminated to the Somali community in Seattle, Wash., about depression and isolation among those ages 60 and older. The multimedia packages will include video and photos. The articles will reveal strategies and resources for coping with depression and strengthening support networks within Somali families and the community.


ALT
Aylin Zafar, Freelance Journalist, TheAtlantic.com Technology Channel, will plug into the brave new world of social media for seniors - from Facebook to YouTube to Skype -- and how this new technology is impacting their quality of life and mental health. Her stories will show how these tools are affecting seniors’ mental health status, particularly among those who have had depression, anxiety, or even dementia.

ALT
ALT
Mei Zhou and Ke Yuan, Producers, New Tang Dynasty Television’s Zooming In documentary series, Los Angeles Bureau, and Contributors, Epoch Times Newspaper will focus on helping Chinese seniors -- many of whom are new immigrants -- navigate the U.S. healthcare system and communicate with their health care providers. Rather than center on eldercare as a problem, the team will describe ways that culturally specific approaches to health and health practices could benefit American care as well.