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Price Check: A community-created guide to health costs

No database yet exists where consumers can easily look up costs. KQED teamed up with ClearHealthCosts.com and KPCC to win a Knight Prototype Grant to ask users to help us make health care costs transparent. 

I led the product team at KQED, working closely with our partners to launch an embeddable form for users to submit how much their common medical procedures cost. That data then becomes searchable for others to use. View the project.

Death at San Jose nursing home leaves family in search of answers

Harold Schreifels died at the Homewood Care Center in San Jose after his blood sugar dipped dangerously low. The home has cut staffing even as it has received about a million dollars in additional funds.

I worked with print reporter Christina Jewett as she interviewed several families about deaths and nursing home spending. We decided together that the Schreifels story translated well to video and I accompanied her on reporting trips down to San Jose. This story, and the multimedia accompaniments, was one of California Watch’s Pulitzer entries. The video, database and print stories were picked up and run in several newspapers across California, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Orange County Register and on KQED online.

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Displaying staffing rates for California nursing homes

Users can explore in detail the 645 nursing homes that gained the most under a 2004 law designed to help hire more caregivers and boost wages. The database shows each home’s revenue under the new law, net income, staffing rates and staffing wages. Also,  users can sort through facilities with a google map displaying homes that were under the state minimums and by county.

I built and designed this django database with data analyst Agustin Armendariz. The data all comes from information that we had collected while reporting and that we needed to crunch for the print story. Because of the sheer number of homes, we decided to automate it using Django, the Google Charts API and the Google Map API.

This story, and the multimedia accompaniments, was one of California Watch’s Pulitzer entries. The database, video and print stories were picked up and run in several newspapers across California, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Orange County Register and on KQED online.

Launching California Watch

California Watch websiteCalifornia Watch, a branch of the Center for Investigative Reporting, launched online in January 2010. I helped lead the development and design effort, working with contract designers and developers, editors and reporters to decide everything from new features, content organization, work flow and design. We brainstormed as an editorial team to decide on features, while I had daily Scrum meetings with the developers to work on implementation. I also led a team of four testers as the site went into production. Currently, I also work with a developer to implement new tools on the site.

It happens at midnight

My masters project explores the resurgence of midnight movies. The project won the 2009 ONA Small Team Student Award, the 2009 Wired Excellence in New Media Award and was a finalist for the 2010 SXSW Interactive Student award. It features more than 26 minutes of fully produced video and 3,000 words. I produced and shot the entire project myself over nine months.

View the project.

KFOG | One man’s trash…

I traveled to Beijing before the Olympic games to learn about how regular people were being affected by the games.  This radio story aired on KFOG.

In China it’s illegal to move without government permission. But this hasn’t stopped millions of migrants who move around the country, especially from rural areas to Beijing. These migrants cannot use public schools, hospitals or receive government aid. They regularly face police harassment and possible jail time.  There I met Zhou who’s willing to risk all this just to make living digging through other people’s trash.

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KALX | Restaurants struggle with Healthy San Francisco

In January the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance went into affect. Now, all for-profit employers with more than 20 workers have to offer health insurance to their employees or pay a fee to the city.

This ordinance hit many city restaurants especially hard, since most hadn’t offered health insurance before. I spoke to customers, waitresses and managers to see how the ordinance has changed things.

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KFOG | From foreclosures to homelessness

The mortgage crisis is forcing renters and owners alike out of their homes. After almost a year, friends and family face can no longer house them, and so many people are turning to already overextended homeless shelters. I visited one of San Francisco’s largest shelters and service centers, Glide, to meet the people on the front lines of homelessness.

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