A newspaper lays next to a keyboard, with icons of a microphone, WiFi, share, and smartphone A newspaper lays next to a keyboard, with icons of a microphone, WiFi, share, and smartphone
Health Journalism for a Healthier State
Story | 02

Health Journalism for a Healther State

Journalism is in a state of crisis. Gone are the days of well-staffed newsrooms with large teams of determined beat reporters. Coverage of health and health policy topics have always required expertise and long-term commitment, something that many organizations can no longer afford to support. This issue is even more pronounced in smaller media markets outside of major cities. Many communities have few trusted sources of information, let alone in-depth coverage of important health issues. With the old journalism model gone, there has been a scramble nationwide to somehow fill this gap. As a Foundation we’d previously partnered with organizations in the health journalism field, but we knew moving forward we would have to do something more enduring to ensure quality coverage for Missouri and for the Midwest.

In February of 2019, in collaboration with the Kaiser Family Foundation, we established the Kaiser Health News (KHN) Midwest Bureau. Through this partnership, KHN expanded its editorial staff and built a team of journalists based in St. Louis who are producing coverage throughout the Midwest. These reporters have the time and resources to take deep dives into important issues that would otherwise be overlooked. The bureau is working to bring the same high-quality health and health policy journalism that KHN produces nationally to the region. In addition, important stories written for the Midwest Bureau are being shared throughout the nation.

KHN stories produced from the Midwest Bureau are made freely available for publication by media outlets throughout the region and the country and are published on khn.org.

We’re already seeing great results. In 2019, the Midwest Bureau produced 30+ stories which were cumulatively picked up by other news organizations more than 750 times. For example, articles like The Deep Divide: State Borders Create Medicaid Haves and Have-Nots and How Black Pharmacists Are Closing the Cultural Gap in Health Care have gained national coverage. The bureau’s work has been disseminated by NBC News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KSMU Ozarks Public Radio, the Columbia Daily Tribune, KCTV5, the Atlanta Voice, and numerous others. In 2020, KHN staff will continue to ramp up the great work they’ve started and move to their permanent location in a newly rehabbed building on our campus.

Image of Cara Anthony interviewing a family sitting  on their porch
Laura Unger interviews a woman laying in bed

We’re off to a running start! Every day is a new adventure for our team as we learn more about the issues that matter to communities across the Midwest. We’re here to listen. No story is too big or too small and every voice matters.”

Cara Anthony,
Midwest Correspondent
Kaiser Health News

The opportunity to do health policy deep dives and investigations for KHN across the Midwest is unheard of in this day when news coverage into such vital issues has shrunk as media outlets scale back or even disappear. Our ability to discover why half of the rural hospitals went bankrupt in 2019, dive into the uptick in cocaine usage, or detail the dangers of corner stores is made possible by Missouri Foundation for Health when so many other journalists’ investigations are being cut short.”

Lauren Weber,
Midwest Correspondent
Kaiser Health News

National Coverage:

“How Black Pharmacists Are Closing the Cultural Gap in Health Care”