The award marks the first win for CalMatters in awards given by the Association for Health Care Journalists.
CalMatters reporter Kristen Hwang is honored with a first-place win for her reporting on rising congenital syphilis rates accompanied by dwindling public health funding.
The award is for consumer/feature reporting given by the Association of Health Care Journalists. The national nonprofit newsroom, ProPublica, won in the large division of the same category. CalMatters took second place in the contest’s health policy category the previous year for reporting on nursing homes.
Now in its 19th year, the journalism contest recognizes the best of print, broadcast and online health care journalism. The 2022 contest drew 429 entries in 14 categories; there were 14 first-place winners.
Kristen’s story took on the relatively hidden subject of congenital syphilis — a preventable illness that has heart-breaking results for newborn children. California has one of largest outbreaks in the nation, and this story delved into why that’s happening and what’s being done about it.
Judges noted Kristen’s work in her award: “Solid data, told with color and emotion. We loved how the reporter covered the on-the-ground, door-to-door campaign to help pregnant women understand the danger their unborn baby is facing; it felt like we were there ringing doorbells with them. Mostly, though, this story won because the work and data were there — this important topic was covered thoroughly and well. Excellent job.”
The award-winning article by Kristen was produced as a project for the USC Annenberg Center for HealthJournalism’s 2022 California Fellowship.