On the Beat: Covering Hospitals

Course Overview

On the Beat: Covering Hospitals
Self-Directed Course
This $29.95 course is free thanks to the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Time Estimate:
This course includes two unique story lines: One is geared toward quality-of-care issues and the other is focused on financial analysis. Each story unfolds over four simulation "days.” Each story takes about four hours to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

On the Beat: Covering Hospitals will hone your critical-thinking skills and give you the beat-specific knowledge you need to cover the hospitals in your community.

Using an innovative simulation, you're put in the role of a rookie health beat reporter. You'll investigate local hospitals on deadline, working with your editor to find the focus of your story and craft the lead. You’ll tap into the same tools that you use on the job, and you’ll have a virtual mentor to walk you through the maze of reports, statistics and sources connected to each hospital .

As the simulation progresses, you’ll uncover additional sources, and the story you thought was unfolding could take unexpected turns.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Uncover sources at hospitals, local associations and government agencies.
  • Work with sources to get the information you need.
  • Work with your editor to get to the heart of the story.
  • Interpret reports, statistics and tricky government forms.
  • Extract information pertinent to your story from lengthy source documents.
  • Tap online resources to flesh out your reporting.
  • Detect trends across years and among documents.
Who should take this course:

Any journalist who wants to expand and enhance his or her expertise covering the medical community.

Course Instructors:

Charles Ornstein

Charles Ornstein is a senior writer for ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Karl Stark

Karl Stark is the health and science editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Training Partner:

Association of Health Care Journalists

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 7.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high-speed connection
  • This course contains audio, so please adjust your sound settings before getting started.