Grant support from Healthcare Georgia Foundation has made it possible to launch the first-ever dedicated news desk at WABE, allowing our staff to focus on health reporting. In March 2017, Susanna was named Senior Editor of the newsroom, in part for her work helping to launch the health desk. WABE has dedicated 30% of Susanna’s time to be the official Editor/Producer for the health desk, and Susanna is a contributing reporter. As the Editor/Producer, she functions much like a Program Manager would – coordinating all of the moving parts and the various departments at WABE. Susanna will outline the editorial schedule, coordinate the health desk reporter and our partners, produce the documentaries, and guide all health content across our radio, TV and online platforms. She is also responsible for maintaining regular communication with the Healthcare Georgia Foundation and disseminating pertinent information to the health desk reporter and WABE newsroom.
Elly Yu was named the primary investigative reporter for the health desk in March 2017. WABE has dedicated 70% of her time to health coverage, developing feature stories and enterprise health journalism, and producing two radio documentaries for this program. Elly’s reporting on health in Georgia quickly led to her being invited to be the station’s Kaiser Health News Fellow in June. The Kaiser Health News Fellowship is a program where Elly Yu meets regularly with a national team of outstanding reporters to discuss health news of national significance for National Public Radio (NPR). While she technically missed the deadline to join the group earlier this year, they made an exception and named her a fellow because of the quality of her work.
A 30-minute radio documentary is currently in the planning stages. It is scheduled for broadcast in November 2017, which will be presented in conjunction with a community engagement event to further our outreach and promotion efforts. WABE is closely following what is happening around Blue Cross Blue Shield’s decision to leave the Georgia exchange, which would leave 96 counties without coverage. This decision will have huge implications for all of Georgia, making it the most likely topic for our radio documentary.
WABE has already made the Atlanta audience aware of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia decision and potential outcomes, and we continue to cover the story. The story posted online in May about their new Emergency Room policy has already gotten over 206,000 page views this month: http://news.wabe.org/post/blue-cross-blue-shield-georgia-launch-emergency-room-policy. The significant online response to this story is primarily due to WABE promoting it on social media. The numbers show that our audience is very interested in how this story plays out for Georgia.