‘Cost of Dying’ series combines emotion and data

Headline: Cost of Dying
Outlet: San Jose Mercury
Journalist: Lisa Krieger and Dai Sugano
Tags: , ,

Death is always a difficult topic to approach, both in journalism and everyday life. That’s why Dai Sugano and Lisa Krieger’s ongoing Cost of Dying series at the San Jose Mercury News is such an impressive work of journalism, and more than worthy of a DFMie. The stories on end of life care combine data and analysis with heart-wrenching articles, photos and videos to bring this important issue to the attention of readers’ heads and hearts.

The most recent chapters of the year-long series focus on the death of nurse Gayla Caliva. Words, pictures and a 15-minute documentary follow the retired nurse through her final days in comfort at home instead of in a hospital undergoing costly dialysis treatment. An earlier entry looks at the emotional and financial challenges for at-home caregivers, again in both text and video. Krieger also provides a comprehensive debriefing on all the lessons learned from the series, including her personal experiences from her own father’s death.

The series’ impact has traveled far beyond the Bay Area, as readers from all over the country have joined in a Facebook comment stream on the section page sharing their own personal experiences and revelations dealing with the cost of a relatives’ death. The Mercury-News also went the extra mile to answer its local readers’ questions by hosting a series of public advance health care workshops around the Bay Area.

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