Hollywood is a white boy’s club, says one report. Here’s an antidote.

Meena Ramamurthy is a filmmaker and storyteller. A colleague, another writer of color, once told her: “Don’t write a pilot with two people of color.”

“It doesn’t come from a bad place,” Ramamurthy says. “It just comes from experience.”

If you’ve watched “Master of None” (the “Indians on Television” episode), this probably sounds familiar. Studios, investors, networks — they have not caught up to the changing demographics of their audience. And in the meantime, they’re having a hard time bridging the gap between a new generation of storytellers and their old formulas for what works.

So stories with two lead characters who are Indian? They get left behind.

An annual report from USC, Ramamurthy’s alma mater, quantifies the issue. The study, by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative, drilled down into the content of 10 major media companies. The results may not be wholly surprising. This year, they found that, “The film industry still functions as a straight, White, boy’s club.”

More at PRI.

13 posts about careers in journalism

This might have been a better post last week, when I had a nice dozen posts for my new blog at ReportingonHealth, but it’s still a good time to take stock.

Every week since June, I have been writing about career issues that health journalists — and many other types of journalists — face in Career GPS. It’s a bit of a narcissistic task, in a way, because I answer questions that I am interested in for my own career. But in meeting the community on ReportingonHealth, I’ve learned that a lot of journalists have these types of questions too. From getting health insurance to becoming a better writer, here’s a quick sum up of the 14 posts I’ve written so far.

If you like this sort of thing and want to keep up with Career GPS, you can follow the blog’s RSS feed. If you are interested in health journalism, you can follow the site’s full RSS feed or subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Live Blogging about Health

This weekend, I’m live blogging the first seminar for California Broadcast Fellows at the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships program at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications.

That’s a lot of names, isn’t it?

It’s actually fitting; one of the biggest challenges of broadcast journalism is to take complex topics and tell compelling and often very short stories about them. You can read my posts on The Fellowship Blog at Reporting on Health, and see my tweets at @ReportingHealth. Here’s the first post:

Examining the Craft: Seminar on Broadcast Health Reporting Begins Today

In a world of sound bites, 140-character reports and information overdose on the Internet, news about health often doesn’t get all the airtime it deserves. The first session of a seminar for broadcast journalists will look at ways television, radio and multimedia journalists can boost coverage and depth in their reports.

Tonight’s keynote speech by NBC’s Robert Bazell asks the question, “Is it Possible to Cover Complex Medical Topics in Two Minutes or Less?” Through the weekend, California Broadcast Fellows will examine social media and digital resources, health reform and the black market, and what it takes to get depth of coverage in a media marketplace that demands that writers be editors and producers all at once.

Michelle Levander, director of the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, says that the pressures of being in a newsroom and on deadline make it difficult for journalists to feel that they are doing their best work. Specialty topics like health often take a hit when time and resources are short. The broadcast track of the fellowship program began last year to address the particular issues of working with sound and images on tight deadlines. Broadcast journalists have to tell compelling stories and need simple ways to cover complex topics, explains Levander. It’s a tough job, especially now that the business of journalism is in such dire straits.

“In a time of cutbacks and uncertainties, one of the things that helps journalists not become demoralized is a sense of community,” Levander says. “You can’t underestimate the value of exchanges that happen in seminars like this.”

You can join the conversation online throughout the weekend by commenting on posts. I’ll be twittering at ReportingHealth; reply or tweet using the hashtag #cabroadcasthealth. You can also email your comments to me at angshah@gmail.com and I’ll include them in my live blog throughout the weekend.

The best reporting on the Sichuan Earthquake you’ll never see

When I was at the Pusan International Film Festival in Korea, I went to a hotel on the beach to meet a documentary filmmaker from Beijing. I was very impressed by his film, Who Killed Our Children.

Pan Jianlin was frank with his opinions and generous with his time. He chain smokes and makes self-depricating jokes. He offered me a beer at 9:30 in the morning. When I met him he was wearing a Slipknot t-shirt. I asked him if he liked Slipknot; he replied, “Who’s Slipknot?”

I wanted to write about him and his film. Two versions of the story ran, one in US-China Today and the other on The China Beat.

I wrote the headline, also the title of this post. I hope I’m totally wrong on that count.