The State of Health Journalism in California

David Tuller, Senior Fellow in Public Health and Journalism, UC Berkeley’s Center for Global Public Health
Heather Tirado Gilligan


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Comprehensive news coverage of health policy and public health issues in California is essential for a range of audiences — health officials and decisionmakers at the community, county, and state levels, as well as residents seeking critical information on matters that impact their lives. Given that California has played a trend-setting role in health-related issues, as it has in so many other domains, its experience is also relevant to stakeholders elsewhere.

If California does it, it will probably happen elsewhere,” said Victoria Colliver, former San Francisco Chronicle health reporter

Such comprehensive coverage, whether produced for local, statewide, or national audiences, depends on a robust health care journalism ecosystem with the ability and capacity to follow daily news as well as to pursue in-depth stories and investigations. The dramatic changes in the media ecosystem over the last decade have created challenges for news organizations in fulfilling these obligations. CHCF commissioned this report to provide an overview of the state’s current health reporting landscape.

About the Authors

David Tuller, DrPH, is a senior fellow in public health and journalism at UC Berkeley’s Center for Global Public Health, which is part of the School of Public Health. Heather Tirado Gilligan, PhD, is a freelance writer.