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Center for Health Reporting editor-in-chief David Westphal writes about the impact of the Center's four-day series “Burning Issue: Gasping for Breath,” which was published in May 2010 in the Chico Enterprise-Record and the Oroville Mercury Register, MediaNews dailies in California's Central Valley.
The 29 stories took a close look at the scientific links between woodstove/fireplace smoke and asthma, chronic lung disease and heart problems.
"The project significantly increased public understanding of the issue, according to local leaders," and "brought to light the failure of the California Energy Commission to consider wood stoves an energy source—or to use any of its $225 million in federal stimulus money to help state residents buy new, less polluting wood-burning stoves and fireplaces." Read more.
The Center for Health Reporting at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism produces in-depth news with a three-year, $3.285 million grant from the philanthropic California HealthCare Foundation. The Center’s veteran reporters and editors are "partnering with news organizations across the state to explore questions about the quality and costs of health care and about Californians’ ability to access it." The Center is actively seeking "media partners — newspapers, broadcasters and new media — to cooperatively pursue health stories of local and statewide interest."
"A Burning Issue" won first place in the Community Newspapers division of the Association of Health Care Journalists' 2010 Awards. See the Center for Health Reporting story.