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Kaiser Family Foundation to Launch Non-Profit Health Policy News Service
Date:10/29/2008

Top Journalists from the Wall Street Journal and Congressional Quarterly to Head Kaiser Health News

Service Will Provide Free, In-depth Coverage to Readers and News Organizations

MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kaiser Family Foundation is launching Kaiser Health News (KHN), an independent news service, to report on the nation's complex health care system and the increasingly urgent political and policy debates surrounding it.

The goal of the new effort is to provide in-depth coverage and news at a time when cash-strapped news organizations are being forced to scale back their efforts in this crucial area.

Kaiser Health News will be headquartered at Kaiser's Washington, D.C. building and be headed by two veteran journalists who have spent years covering health care. Laurie McGinley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor, is the former deputy bureau chief for global economics and national health care policy correspondent at The Wall Street Journal. Peggy Girshman, an Emmy-winning editor and producer, is a former managing editor of National Public Radio and an executive editor at Congressional Quarterly.

The centerpiece of KHN will be in-depth stories on new developments in the health care system and on health care initiatives and debates in Washington and in state capitals. Supplementing the stories will be columns, video interviews, graphics, and multimedia features, as well as a daily synthesis of news stories from around the country - which Kaiser already provides.

"We are committed to making KHN a unique home and distribution vehicle for the very best in-depth journalism on health issues, a place people and other news organizations can go for stories and the most important changes occurring in health care and often mind-numbingly complex health policy debates," said Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Journalists who work for KHN will have resources for research and travel to get out and cover stories where they are happening, and they will not have to compete with stories on other issues for space in the paper or time on air."

All news content will be available for free on a new Web site, http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org, expected to be launched in the early part of 2009. KHN will also enter into partnerships with news organizations to jointly produce and publish articles, and will provide content for syndication to news organizations in the U.S. and around the world, free of charge. Over the next several months, a team of full-time journalists will be hired and top freelance journalists will be recruited to write stories and series for distribution through KHN.

All editorial decisions will be made by the editors of KHN, Laurie McGinley and Peggy Girshman. An advisory board of prominent leaders in the journalism community, to be announced at a later date, will provide guidance to KHN.

McGinley, who was part of a Wall Street Journal reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for AIDS coverage, has written and edited health-care stories for more than a decade. "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to delve deeply into this crucial area," she said. "Our goal is to increase understanding of complicated issues by producing accurate, detailed and timely stories."

Girshman, who has won two Peabody Awards for health policy coverage, as well as national and local Emmys, said, "I can't think of a better place to be and a better project to work on at this critical time, when Americans are facing huge challenges about the future of their own health care."

"The cutbacks in the news business have severely affected coverage of national policy debates," said Kaiser's Matt James, who is senior vice president for media and public education and will have responsibility for KHN. "The non-profit sector can play a unique role in making sure that the public has continued access to in-depth reporting on complex policy issues. And it is our hope to do just that in the area of health care, an issue that affects everyone." James has also overseen all of the Foundation's media programs since 1991.

The non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, private operating foundation dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible information, research, and analysis on health issues. The Foundation has a long-standing commitment to journalism. It has operated its highly respected health policy fellowship and internship programs and global journalism training programs from its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters since 1993.

In addition, Kaiser has maintained long-standing partnerships with news organizations, including the Washington Post (since 1987), USA Today, and National Public Radio to produce timely policy-relevant polling. Since 2002, Kaiser has operated kaisernetwork.org, an online health policy information service, which provides daily online news synthesis reports, reports on developments in health on Capitol Hill, thousands of webcasts of health events in the U.S. and around the world, and a broad range of original programming from the Foundation's broadcast studio. Kaisernetwork will be merged into KHN, creating a comprehensive health news and information service.


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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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