September 10, 2013; St. Louis Post-Dispatch


In an interesting reflection of the journalistic times, Virginia Young, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrote today that she will, with the support of the Kaiser Health News, be shifting her coverage from the Missouri Statehouse to the rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Five news organizations received such grants, with the Miami Herald, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Texas Tribune joining the Post-Dispatch.

Kaiser itself is, as Young points out, “staffed by veteran journalists who provide in-depth coverage of health care policy” and is editorially independent from the Kaiser Foundation. Young says that the grants will also leave grantees independent. It is an interesting model: one journalism site giving money to others to make coverage of an issue more robust.

Additionally, Young essentially invites her public to consider the opportunity, writing, “We’re hunting for the stories that show how the Affordable Care Act is—and isn’t—working. And there are likely to be plenty of kinks this fall, when consumers begin shopping for subsidized plans through the online marketplace.”

This situation has many interesting aspects. It is an experiment with a burgeoning platform and yet another example of a networked approach to the news involving for-profit and nonprofit actors. It’s a situation to keep an eye on.—Ruth McCambridge