Informed, engaged communities for health

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The Croakey story

The story below outlines Croakey’s history and our ambitions. We welcome your suggestions and comments. (Please contact us here.)

Croakey is an ever-evolving journalism project that aims to provide a public service for those who care about the community’s health and well-being.

We do not approach health through a narrow clinical or disciplinary lens, but take a holistic view that recognises the health of individuals is connected to the health of communities, societies and the planet.

Our work is underpinned by an appreciation of the importance of equitable access to health-producing environments as well as to healthcare, particularly primary healthcare. We look for health in all policies, not only from the health sector or health portfolios.

We value open and informed public debate. We also value the engaged members of our community and digital networks who seek to hold power to account and to provide much-needed scrutiny of the interests affecting our health and wellbeing.

We work with and for our communities. Croakey is not an organisation in the conventional sense. We are a lean outfit with a small budget and no full-time staff.

We are probably best described as “a connective” of people who work together on different projects – whether as the Croakey moderators and authors on publishing articles at this site, or as journalists, writers and others collaborating on specific projects.

We particularly enjoy it when readers become collaborators, working with us on projects like @WePublicHealth, #IHMayDay, The Health Wrap, and the Naked Doctor column, as well as crowd-funded initiatives like The Koori Woman columns, #WonkyHealth, #JustJustice, and #CripCroakey.

We also provide a range of services that align with our core mission, including the Croakey Conference News Service and workshops on using Twitter for advocacy and engagement.

We call ourselves a “social journalism” project because there was an instant snap of recognition – “that’s what we do!” – when we read this description of the emerging field of social journalism.

US journalism academic and innovator Professor Jeff Jarvis writes about how social journalism must listen to a community in order to work out how it can contribute to meeting their needs:
[quote font_style=”italic”]”The answer sometimes — often — will be reporting and content. But it can also mean connecting the members of the community to each other to share information themselves. It can mean sharing data and tools rather than developing narratives. It can mean helping a community to organize itself to take action (yes, that’s community organizing). It can be education. It must be collaborative. Social journalists will judge their success instead by whether the public they serve and its members accomplish their goals, meet their needs, improve their lots and their communities — and whether they connect with each other to better understand each other through discussion and information.”[/quote]

History of Croakey

The Croakey project was born out of conversations in early 2007 about mainstream media’s coverage of health issues, involving public health academic Professor Simon Chapman and journalists Melissa Sweet and Mark Ragg. Journalist Ray Moynihan was also part of these discussions at different times.

We talked about ways to create structures and processes that might enable the development of counter-narratives to the mainstream focus on medical “breakthroughs”, hospital beds, and lifestyle choices.

Chapman, who at that time wrote regularly for the Crikey e-news bulletin, picked up the phone to its publisher Eric Beecher and suggested we would set up a panel of experts to provide informed articles about topical health issues.

Melissa Sweet took on the founding and moderation of the Crikey Health and Medical Panel, as outlined in this 2009 article in The Medical Journal of Australia, CHAMP: A novel collaboration between public health and the media (abstract is free; full article is not but if you want a copy, please contact Croakey).

From mid 2007 until the end of October 2009, Crikey paid Melissa Sweet for coordinating the CHAMP. By this time, the Croakey blog had been established. Although it sat on the Crikey website, its editorial operations were run by Melissa Sweet, independently of Crikey.

When Crikey stopped its funding, the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) organised a consortium of organisations to help fund the Croakey project (see here for more details).

Melissa Sweet was the founding moderator of Croakey and ran it by herself until late 2012, when health policy consultant and analyst Jennifer Doggett came on board to help with moderation, as did health consultant Michelle Culhane-Hughes in early 2013. In August 2013, journalist and editor Marie McInerney joined the Croakey collective (former Fairfax journalist Mark Metherell was also briefly involved).

In mid-2013, the Sax Institute launched a probono contribution, The Health Wrap, which is compiled every fortnight by experienced health and medical journalist/editor Kellie Bisset and her colleagues.

Many others have also contributed to various projects with Croakey, including Kelly Briggs, Dr Justin Coleman, Summer May Finlay, Dr Lynore Geia, El Gibbs, Dr Tim Senior and the many who have reported for the Croakey Conference News Service.

The Croakey contributors’ list includes more than 250 people who want to help contribute to a more informed and wide-ranging public debate about health issues.

2015: Re-launch

In June 2015, the Croakey project won a $5,000 grant from the Walkleys Grants for Innovation in Journalism which was used to fund the redevelopment of Croakey as this standalone platform. We acknowledge and thank the Walkleys Foundation and the sponsors of these grants. We also acknowledge and thank the team at Crikey who have previously hosted us.

We hope that having a standalone platform will enable us to provide a better service to our readers, contributors and funders, and that it will enable us to continue developing and hopefully also to become more financially sustainable.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions for how we can continue to develop and improve.

2018: Incorporation

On 24 August 2018, Croakey Health Media Ltd was registered as the holding company for all the Croakey services: croakey.org, Croakey Conference News Services, Croakey Professional Services and all our ad hoc projects. By professionalising Croakey, we look to make it a financially sustainable entity with a momentum greater than any one of us.

• The National Library of Australia archives Croakey for its PANDORA project.

 

Help support non-profit public interest journalism

Public interest journalism is an important determinant of health, due to its roles in accountability and holding power to account, empowering communities, and contributing to health literacy. A strong public interest journalism sector contributes to planetary health and health equity, as well as healthier people, communities, societies, and systems of governance.

Donate

We are working very hard to ensure Croakey Health Media becomes sustainable into the future. Every donation helps! No amount is too small to make a difference. You can choose to make a one-off donation or become a regular donor.

Donate now

Please also consider registering at our Patreon account that supports public interest journalism on the climate crisis and health – it’s an easy way to support us through regular donations. Every dollar helps.

Subscribe

Although you can always access Croakey’s articles for free, a convenient way to stay up to date is with our weekly emailed summary of Croakey articles. It is only $60 per year (including GST).  We also offer special rates for bulk deals – for example, for organisations or students.

Subscribe here

More options

Join one of our annual Funding Consortia

Croakey is supported by two main funding consortia, whose contributions help to pay the Croakey News team. We would not be able to operate without our editorial team, who commission, edit and publish articles and also support special projects.

Two membership options are available:

  • $2600 + GST consortium membership.
  • $3600 + GST consortium membership with logo and statement included on four of the weekly Croakey News bulletin as follows: “XXX is a supporter of Croakey and public interest journalism”. This advertisement is provided at a significant discount to our usual advertising rate in the bulletin.

Members of the consortium are provided ten complimentary yearly subscriptions to the weekly Croakey News bulletin (total value $600), and a further discount offered on bulk subscriptions.  Members are acknowledged on the Croakey website with organisation logo on the front page and name and link to your website here.

If you would like to be part of one of the Consortia, please contact us at: support@croakey.org.

What people say about Croakey

Croakey has pioneered an unprecedented role in providing an open forum for the revelation and exchange of thinking on health in Australia. Thanks to the indefatigable Croakey team, we have a place where players from all corners of health can share ideas, news and commentary.

Mark Metherell

health journalist, CHF

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Donations

We are working very hard to ensure Croakey Health Media becomes sustainable into the future. Every donation helps! No amount is too small to make a difference. You can choose to make a one-off donation or become a regular donor. Please donate here.

Please also consider registering at our Patreon account that supports public interest journalism on the climate crisis and health – it’s an easy way to support us through regular donations. Every dollar helps.

Help support non-profit public interest journalism

Public interest journalism is an important determinant of health, due to its roles in accountability and holding power to account, empowering communities, and contributing to health literacy. A strong public interest journalism sector contributes to planetary health and health equity, as well as healthier people, communities, societies, and systems of governance.

Donate

We are working very hard to ensure Croakey Health Media becomes sustainable into the future. Every donation helps! No amount is too small to make a difference. You can choose to make a one-off donation or become a regular donor.

Donate now

Please also consider registering at our Patreon account that supports public interest journalism on the climate crisis and health – it’s an easy way to support us through regular donations. Every dollar helps.

Subscribe

Although you can always access Croakey’s articles for free, a convenient way to stay up to date is with our weekly emailed summary of Croakey articles. It is only $60 per year (including GST).  We also offer special rates for bulk deals – for example, for organisations or students.

Subscribe here

More options

Join one of our annual Funding Consortia

Croakey is supported by two main funding consortia, whose contributions help to pay the Croakey News team. We would not be able to operate without our editorial team, who commission, edit and publish articles and also support special projects.

Two membership options are available:

  • $2600 + GST consortium membership.
  • $3600 + GST consortium membership with logo and statement included on four of the weekly Croakey News bulletin as follows: “XXX is a supporter of Croakey and public interest journalism”. This advertisement is provided at a significant discount to our usual advertising rate in the bulletin.

Members of the consortium are provided ten complimentary yearly subscriptions to the weekly Croakey News bulletin (total value $600), and a further discount offered on bulk subscriptions.  Members are acknowledged on the Croakey website with organisation logo on the front page and name and link to your website here.

If you would like to be part of one of the Consortia, please contact us at: support@croakey.org.

What people say about Croakey

Croakey  – it’s a constant in my life. It’s my first ‘go to’ place on the web. It changed how I viewed news. It took expressing an opinion to a new level. I love the way Croakey pulls out something new or puts a different twist on an old idea. The diversity of authors and timeliness of posts are very much appreciated. Bring me more of this!

Dr Melissa Stoneham

Public health leader

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