I frequently post news from NC Dept. of Health and Human Services and other news related to Medicaid and mental health. I do this because these subjects are so under-reported and badly reported. I also have recently started posting on Daily Kos, and I plan to focus less on politics in general and more on health care at that site.
I am putting together a PR Toolkit as part of a larger project for persons who use the health services of NC health care providers. While doing some research, I came across a quote from Rose Hoban of NC Health News on a Columbia Journalism Review article. She said aside from Taylor Sisk and herself, there was only one more health news reporter in NC.
I was checking all the major dailies to see if i could find others, and i did, but I got this message from Rose Hoban, when I inquired about her post at CJR:
Full time... Really it's only Karen Garloch at the CharO.
Renee at the N&O, Elizabeth Kate Queram (and now someone new) at the Wilmington paper, along w everyone else, pull periods of time where they're covering general assignment. And no one, other Richard Craver at the Winston-Salem Journal and Karen has any length of time and therefore institutional history. So, while they're writing about health care (or are called health reporters, like Renee), no one is devoting most or all of their time to the beat.
In finding folks, there's no one central listing. You have to go paper by paper and look either for someone w that title, or look for who's writing about healthcare and reverse search to see what else they're writing. E.g. Richard at the W-SJ is primarily a business reporter.
Keep in mind, as recently as 2006, the N&O had 5 people devoted to the beat, so the capacity is much diminished.
I want to point out what Rose is saying about the lack of historical perspective. That perspective is vital to providing articles with real insight and context. We are really losing that not just in the reporters on the health beat, but in the advocates whom we rely on for the information that goes to the health reporters.
I found in articles I read from journalism research that the majority of science and health reporters rely on press releases for over 70% of the material they write. If the advocates have no history, and the reporters have no history, we are in a sad state of affairs.
Add this to the mix a NC legislature with no institutional history and a Secretary of Health and Human Services whose background is as a political fund raiser and ambassador, no wonder things are in such a mess in NC.