15 Journalists Earn Aging-Focused Reporting Fellowships

For Immediate Release
October 22, 2020

Contact: Todd Kluss
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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the Journalists Network on Generations are welcoming 15 distinguished reporters for the next cohort of the Journalists in Aging Fellows Program, now in its 11th year.

They represent a wide range of general audience, ethnic, and community media outlets, including public radio and television affiliates, daily newspapers, and national publications. This year’s group brings the program’s total number of participating reporters to 185. The new fellows were chosen — by a panel of gerontological and editorial professionals — based on their proposals for an in-depth aging-focused story or series.

These projects, to be produced in 2021, span such concerns as mental health challenges of older adults due to COVID-19, issues surrounding senior housing, employment, aging in place, the health of older rural farmworkers, caregivers and caregiving, elder abuse, health disparities, the nursing home and assisted living sectors, changes in U.S. life expectancy, and California’s Master Plan for Aging.

The program is supported by funding from The Silver Century Foundation, The RRF Foundation for Aging, The Commonwealth Fund, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Gannett Foundation.

The current cycle of the program will be conducted entirely online. It will commence with a short series of exclusive background and issue-focused educational sessions, taking place across four days between October 28 and November 12. Fellows will additionally participate in GSA’s Annual Scientific Meeting, taking place from November 4 to 7, also online. The fellowship will showcase research highlights from the meeting and other sources, and host discussions with veteran journalists on how to position aging stories in the current media environment.

“We congratulate our new journalist fellows who, at a time of great disruption, are demonstrating a commitment to serving their communities through vital stories about aging in America,” said Todd Kluss, GSA’s director of communications. “We are happy to provide a unique venue where these reporters can interact with top authorities to better understand everything from scientific discoveries to social and policy debates.”

Kluss co-directs the program together with independent age-beat journalist Liz Seegert, who serves as program coordinator of the fellowship’s media partner, the Journalists Network on Generations.

“I’m excited to work with this year’s outstanding group of fellows to help them pursue multiple angles on what it means to grow older in the United States,” Seegert said. “The fellowship will connect them to sources and data that can enrich their coverage and ultimately develop richer, more nuanced stories which comprise the many different aspects of aging.”

Continuing fellowship grants also are being provided to allow 10 previous fellows to participate in the program and GSA’s meeting. A continuously updated list of nearly 700 stories generated by the program’s alumni is available at

The new fellows:

Lola Butcher (Undark Magazine)
Project: A long-form article on why U.S. life expectancy and many other measures of health status are worse than that of other high-income nations.

Xuanlu “Melody” Cao (SinoVision Inc, New York, New York)
Project: An in-depth video series, “Mental Health of Asian American Seniors in Pandemic.”

Diane Eastabrook (PBS Next Avenue)
Project: A two-part article series on emerging issues in the aging of the workforce, “Older Workers in Corporate America.”

John Ferrannini (Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco, California)
Project: Series on LGBTQ elder housing issues, including the pandemic’s impact, senior isolation, a national overview and the status of low-income older adults.

Carl L. Johnson (PolyByDesign and Faika Broadcast/KALI-FM, Court Fair Oaks, California)
Project: Series on older Pacific Islanders’ standard of living and healthcare, including the impact of the pandemic.

Jenny Manrique (Palabra, news site of the National Hispanic Journalists Association)
Project: The pandemic’s effects on Latino elders and direct-care staff in Texas, California, and the rest of the U.S.

Margaret “Peggy” Sands Orchowski, PhD (The Georgetowner, Washington DC)
Project: A series of five monthly columns, “The Changing Cityscape of Silver Cities,” on aging in one of the area’s more prominent but also diverse communities.

Jatika H. Patterson (The Crisis, magazine of the NAACP)
Project: An article examining solutions to poor care and abuses in many Medicaid-only facilities serving Black and other low-income elders.

Nargis Rahman (Tostada Magazine, Detroit, Michigan)
Project: A three-part series on Detroit Bangladeshi older adults, especially women, and how local leaders combat misinformation in immigrant communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel Roubein (Politico)
Project: An investigative article on what COVID-19 reveals about lingering policy failures on long-term care in the U.S.

Lara Salahi (Gannett Media’s New England North Unit)
Project: A three-part series, “Reimaging Elder Care in the Age of Coronavirus.”

Maria Sestito (The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, California)
Project: A five-part series on how COVID-19 exposes older adult isolation and related issues of long-term care as a persistent problem.

Casey Smith (The Associated Press/Report for America)
Project: A six-part series on conflicts of interests in the assisted-living industry.

Eduardo Stanley (Community Alliance/”Nuestro Foro,” KFCF 88.1 FM, Fresno, California)
Project: A two-part series with photographs, “Immigrant Latino Farmworkers Aging.”

Julia Yarbough (“Action News Now,” KHSL/KNVN, Chico, California)
Project: A three-part series on senior caregiving in California — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan for Aging after one year; senior-care facility operations during the pandemic; and the effects of capital investment firms on care in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.


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 5,500+ 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.

The Journalists Network on Generations, founded in 1993, is based in San Francisco. It links to over 1,000 journalists, authors, and producers on issues in aging, and publishes Generations Beat Online News (

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