Donations to The Lund Report Support Nimble, Hard-Hitting Oregon Healthcare Coverage

Journalism has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in less than a generation, and our state has been particularly battered by this trend. But our in-depth stories prove that investigative reporting can still make a difference.

In this era of “fake news,” it’s harder than ever to get in-depth insight into people, businesses companies and government groups that shape our lives. In 2000, the year I graduated from college and started my journalism career, newspapers employed 423,000 people, many in local communities. By 2016, only 183,200 of those jobs remained. Online news has created 85,000 jobs over that time – nowhere near enough to make up for what we have lost, and most of that growth has been centered in New York, D.C. and Los Angeles.

When it comes to healthcare – at the heart of the country’s and state’s biggest public policy debates, one of the richest sectors of the business world, and critical to treating disease and maintaining quality of life – local coverage has especially suffered.

Against that bleak background, The Lund Report is striving to shine a light on this critical corner of our world – and we are growing. We are a small and nimble news organization, with a focus on Oregon healthcare: policy, events, people, and the money that drives it all.

Our Salem-based reporter, Chris Gray, doggedly followed legislation over the past session, covering bills that expanded health coverage to Pacific Islanders in Oregon, efforts to limit tobacco sales to people under age 21, leadership turmoil at the Oregon Health Authority, and that agency’s struggles to vet its member rolls and efficiently re-enroll Medicaid recipients. Now that the session is closed, he’s tracking campaigns to protect the recently approved healthcare tax, watching which health-related donors are backing which candidate for governor, and following the implementation of laws that passed last session.

Our founder and editor emeritus, Diane Lund-Muzikant, has continued to contribute critical analyses of Oregon Health and Science University, and as chair of The Lund Report’s board, she stays closely engaged with our finances and reporting efforts.

After nearly five years freelancing for The Lund Report, I joined our full-time staff in April, as editor in chief. In addition to managing our editorial efforts, I contribute reporting with a focus on data analysis, public records, and investigative work. If you want to know which health insurance companies are charging more, how each of these businesses is making and spending its money, how hospitals rate on assessments of their quality, or how much their executives earn each year, look for my byline.

The Lund Report is growing and evolving. In the past year, we have brought on new staff and new freelance reporters. We are just beginning a redesign of our website that will allow us to present more dynamic news stories, and to move more quickly with our hard-hitting reports. We are seeking new office space as we continue to expand. And we are assessing our revenue models to make sure we can continue to fund critical journalism for years ahead.

That’s where you come in. The Lund Report pays the bills with the help of diversified funding streams: Though most of our work is free, premium subscribers who support our public records requests, data analyses and exclusive interviews gain access to original stories that can’t be read anywhere else; Health Hires, our industry-specific online job board, provides another source of support; and donors like you help to close the gap.

Every penny we receive makes a difference. A $5 donation covers the cost of a 20-page public record, $200 could fund a reporter visiting homeless camps to assess the health conditions and treatment options available to the state’s most vulnerable citizens; $10,000 keeps our website online for half a year. And as we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, every dollar donated to us is tax deductible.

As 2017 draws to a close, critical healthcare issues loom for Oregon, and The Lund Report plans to be there to tell the story. How well will the Oregon Health Authority’s new leader, Pat Allen, overcome scandals over the agency’s Medicaid enrollments, and a history of technological failures? How much money is being spent to overturn, and to maintain, the state’s latest healthcare tax, which is critical to maintaining Oregon’s coordinated care organization experiment? How are the machinations in Washington, D.C., over tax reform and healthcare repeals going to play out in the lives of Oregonians? The Lund Report will be there to dig deep, think critically, and tell the story. And your donation today will play a key role in allowing this to happen.

Reach Courtney Sherwood at sherwood@thelundreport.org.

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