RH Reality Check is a daily publication providing news, commentary and analysis on sexual and reproductive health and justice issues.
RH Reality Check is guided by the issues and recommendations identified in the Program of Action agreed on at the International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo in 1994. Protection is our watchword—we are contributing to the global effort to empower people with the information, services and leadership they need to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health and rights against false attacks and misinformation.
RH Reality Check exists as a resource for evidence-based news, provocative commentary, in-depth analysis and interactive dialogue. We enjoyed the support of the UN Foundation and the editorial independence entrusted to us for six years, from 2006-2012. In January 2012 we officially became our own independent 501c3 non-for-profit organization.
RH Reality Check provides a forum for ideas and opinions. The opinions expressed on the site are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of RH Reality Check or its funding organizations or persons.
WHO WE ARE
Jodi Jacobson is a long-time leader in the health and development community and an advocate with extensive experience in public health, gender equity, human rights, environment and demographic issues. Previously, Jodi was the Director of Advocacy at American Jewish World Service and the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), an organization that monitors and seeks to promote accountability of US international policy to women’s reproductive and sexual health and rights.
Jodi has been quoted extensively on issues related to public health in the Lancet, BMJ and The Economist and national daily news media including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. She has written numerous articles and papers, and is the co-author of 10 books.
Prior to establishing CHANGE, Jodi was a consultant to numerous organizations in the environmental and reproductive health and population fields, including the International Women’s Health Coalition, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Population Council, and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization. Her previous work experience includes a position as Senior Policy Analyst for Energy and Environment at the National Governor’s Association, and as a Senior Researcher at the WorldWatch Institute.
Mariam Ward’s focus is on the operations of the organization. Prior to joining RH Reality Check, Mariam spent almost five years at Bank of America where she led and consulted on process improvement projects with a particular focus on the contact centers’ adherence to risk requirements. During her time at the bank, Mariam was also a Business Support Manager, developing and executing operational and management routines. She joined the bank through the Operations MBA rotational program after receiving her MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley. Prior to graduate school, Mariam worked in government contracting both as a consultant and as a small management consulting company founder, managing the latter for three years until deciding to pursue her MBA. She earned a BA degree in Economics with High Distinction from George Mason University. Contact Mariam at email@example.com.
Sharona Coutts is an investigative reporter and RH Reality Check’s VP of Investigations and Research. She has exposed fraud and abuse in areas including pension funds, financial firms, for-profit colleges, aged-care, and New York City schools. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, nationally-syndicated radio programs, as well as dozens of other publications. Coutts graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and worked for three years at ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom in Manhattan. Prior to joining RH Reality Check, Coutts led the investigative team at The Global Mail, an online publication based in her hometown, Sydney, Australia. Coutts holds a law degree, and clerked for a justice of the High Court of Australia. Read Sharona’s work here and contact Sharona at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Perrone is RH Reality Check’s Communications Director. Prior to joining RHRC, she was Media Director at the National Women’s Law Center where she raised awareness of women’s health care and reproductive rights among the press as well as the general public. Her background also includes working as an account director at Fenton, where she helped progressive clients (such as non-profits and unions) manage day-to-day communications and develop long-term strategy. Prior to joining Fenton, she served as an independent consultant, working on communications strategy, story placement, and social networking. She led day-to-day press efforts at the Campaign for America’s Future, where she moved progressive messaging on health care, the economy and employment. At the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, Rachel served as primary contact to the progressive blogosphere in addition to managing communications around civil rights issues. While with NARAL Pro-Choice America, she developed the organization’s first blog outreach strategy and worked extensively on the Roberts and Alito Supreme Court nominations campaigns. An Ohio native, Rachel is a graduate from the Western College Program at Miami University and holds a Masters in public policy from Duquesne University. For media inquiries, contact Rachel at email@example.com.
Maria Miranda is a social justice advocate with more than ten years of experience working in community-based non-profits in Cleveland, Ohio. Maria has developed her fundraising experience as a staff member, board member and volunteer at Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland, the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, Community Shares of Greater Cleveland, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation, Hard Hatted Women and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Maria received her B.A. in Women’s Studies and Political Science from Eastern Michigan University and is pursuing a Masters in Public Administration from Villanova University. Maria focuses on foundation, major gifts and individual giving. Questions about making a donation to support our work? Contact Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brady Swenson has been designing and developing Web media for 15 years, beginning with a job developing the web presence for a large insurance company in Topeka, Kansas when he was 16. At age 19, while studying English Literature at the University of Kansas, he worked for Kathleen Sebelius to develop an Intranet web site and an award-winning Internet site for the Kansas Insurance Department. After graduating from KU, he served in the Peace Corps as an English and reading teacher and a community developer on the island of Leguan off the coast of Guyana, South America. Upon returning Brady delved back into web development by designing and developing an e-commerce website for his and his wife’s Fair Trade retail business, Two Hands Worldshop. His most recent position before joining RH Reality Check was the Director of Search Engine Marketing for Absorbent, Ink., an e-commerce company, where he managed a monthly advertising budget of $40,000 and helped the company grow over 1,200% per annum over two years and earn a listing in Inc. 500 as one of the nation’s fastest growing private businesses. Contact Brady at email@example.com with any questions or feedback related to our website.
Kat Jercich is a writer and editor based in Chicago whose interests include reproductive rights, LGBT rights and environmental ethics. Before joining the RHRC staff as Senior Editor, she edited labor news at In These Times and honed her digital campaigning skills at Care2.com. Her work has appeared in BUST Magazine, Sacramento News and Review and on Bitch Magazine’s “Bitch Blog.” In her spare time, she enjoys interrogating the misogyny of sports culture and rescuing migratory birds. Contact Kat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denny Carter is an editor and reporter with a decade of experience in local and national education news. Carter covered educational technology at eCampus News and county politics at The Gazette newspapers before joining the RH Reality team as news editor. Contact Denny at email@example.com.
Prior to joining RH Reality Check, Regina Mahone was staff writer at Philanthropy News Digest, a publication of the Foundation Center, where she covered the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and interviewed leaders on a variety of topics ranging from Black male achievement, to disaster relief, to online community building. During her six years at the Center, she also spearheaded its foray into web video content, and was instrumental in getting the organization to dip its toes in the social media waters. Before that, she worked in book publishing in NYC, and wrote about local fashion and businesses in Los Angeles. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a BA in English. Contact Regina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imani Gandy is a recovering attorney turned political blogger and women’s rights activist. Prior to joining RH Reality Check, she was the publisher of Angry Black Lady Chronicles (winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Award for Best Political Blog) from 2009-2013. She is also currently Editor-at-Large of This Week in Blackness (TWiB!) and co-host of TWiB! in the Morning. Her work has been featured at The Grio.com, AlterNet, and she appears regularly on the Hal Sparks Radio Program on WCPT in Chicago. Contact Imani at email@example.com.
Jessica Mason Pieklo is a writer and adjunct law professor in Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota. As senior legal analyst, her writing focuses on legal strategies in undermining reproductive rights issues as well as the role of the federal judiciary in the political process. In addition to covering reproductive rights and constitutional law issues, Jessica serves on the advisory board for Common Cause, Minnesota. Her background is in constitutional law, corporate governance and health law, and she was formerly Assistant Director of the Health Law Clinic at Hamline Law School. Contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sofia Resnick is an investigative reporter for RH Reality Check. She has uncovered abuse and exposed religious influence on academic research and public policy in the areas of reproductive health and LGBT discrimination. Prior to joining RH Reality Check, Resnick was an investigative reporter for The American Independent, an online publication based in Washington, D.C. She has worked for The Austin Chronicle in Austin, Texas. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her work has appeared in The Austin Chronicle, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and Salon, among other publications. Contact Sofia at email@example.com.
Emily Crockett is RH Reality Check‘s federal policy reporter, formerly one of RH Reality Check‘s Reporting Fellows. Based in DC, she is a former reporter and associate editor at Generation Progress, and her work has been published at The Nation, In These Times, DCist, The Intentional, and AlterNet. She hails from Texas, is also a professional opera singer and playwright, and tweets at @emilycrockett. Contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teddy Wilson is a Reporting Fellow at RH Reality Check. Since joining RH Reality Check he has reported on several topics related to reproductive justice. Previously he worked as a reporter and social media manager for Free Speech Radio News. He also worked as a reporter for the Texas Independent, an affiliate of the American Independent News Network. A native Texan and Navy veteran, he is based out of College Station, Texas. Contact Teddy at email@example.com.
Zoe Greenberg is an investigative fellow with RH Reality Check. She recently graduated from Yale, where she studied journalism and wrote about New Haven gang reform, the $70 billion dollar wedding industry, and gender in comedy, among other things. Previously she worked as a reporter for The Oregonian, in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Salon, OZY, Poets & Quants, The New Journal, and The Yale Daily News. Contact Zoe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brie Shea is an Investigative Intern with the Investigations and Research Team at RH Reality Check. Prior to joining RH Reality, Brie worked as an Intelligence Analyst with Boeing Defense, Space and Security. She holds an MA in Intelligence Studies from American Military University and a BA in International Security & Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University. With a background in research and analysis, along with a passion for progressive issues, Brie is excited to make the transition into journalism. Contact Brie at email@example.com.
Shonté Daniels is RH Reality Check’s editorial assistant. Before joining RHRC, Shonté was an intern for Kill Screen, a website and journal about games and gaming culture. Her work can be found at sites such as The Hooded Utilitarian, Pixel Dynamo and Kill Screen. She graduated from Albion College with a BA in English and Spanish. Contact Shonté at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To book RH Reality Check writers or Editor in Chief Jodi Jacobson, schedule interviews, or for general media inquiries, please contact:
Rachel Perrone, Director of Communications
FOR WRITERS AND REPORTERS
We know how difficult it can be when you need to research, write and fact-check an article in only a few hours. Take a little time to look through our site each day. Our top stories of the day and week are right at the top of our front page, to the right of our featured stories. Every day, our front page is where you’ll find investigative and opinion pieces that cover the most important reproductive and sexual health issues of the day and week – usually from around the world.
We’ll work with you to find those top stories, breaking news and critical commentary and we’ll help you to disseminate the message. If you need to reach us, please email: email@example.com.
How to Submit Your Article
Please send unsolicited pitches in the text of an email and unsolicited articles as a Word document attachment (.doc) or a link (if the submission has been posted on another site), and be sure to embed all of the links you would like to be included in your article.
Submissions should run approximately 700-900 words. Send your draft to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your pitch. Please include the word “Submission” in the subject line. Any article submitted in text form that is cross-posted from another site should include the link to the original post.
We will contact you if we decide to publish your article, so please include your name and contact information in your submission. If we choose to publish your story, we will ask you for a short bio and a digital photo.
Thank you for your interest in RH Reality Check!
Journalistic Code of Ethics
This code of ethics is taken from the Center for Independent Media’s News Journalist Fellow Program’s web site and adapted for RH Reality Check.
- Ensure the accuracy of all information, regardless of where it comes from. Review facts and stories. Never knowingly publish false information.
- Give all the public the chance to respond to news stories, particularly those who might be accused of wrongdoing. Keep an open dialogue with the public.
- Identify sources when possible. The public must be able to know how reliable sources are.
- Take special care with anonymous sources, keeping their motives in mind. Do not become beholden to sources; keep agreements with them clear and honest.
- Never misrepresent events in an attempt to oversimplify or take events out of context.
- Maintain the integrity and clarity of visual and audio content in keeping with the standards for written content.
- Only use undercover and surreptitious methods of gathering information in extreme situations when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Do not compromise personal or professional integrity for any reason.
- Never plagiarize.
- Never limit their reporting to information that people want to hear. Write stories regardless of whether a subject is popular or whether people want to read about it.
- Seek to improve the public discourse by never stereotyping based on race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status. Avoid imposing cultural values on others and keep in mind the growing diversity of modern society.
- Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
- Use both official and unofficial sources to acknowledge and give voice to those without traditional power.
- Acknowledge the difference between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be understood as such.
- Distinguish news from advertising and never allow the latter to take precedence over the former.
- Recognize their role in maintaining an open society by ensuring that the public’s business and government records are open to inspection.
- Be sensitive to those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use care and courtesy when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
- Recognize the possible negative effects of their news stories, and remain humble in the pursuit of gathering and reporting information.
- Be aware of the differences between private people and public figures, and remember that that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
- Show good taste in the stories they run.
- Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges. Use caution about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes. Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.
- Always be fair, but always favor truth over balance.
- Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived, and disclose unavoidable conflicts.
- Remain active, interested, and involved members of society without letting their activities unduly influence their duties to their readers and the public.
- Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun employment or engagement in organizations that would compromise professional integrity.
- Hold the powerful accountable without exception.
- Maintain integrity by resisting pressure from advertisers and special interests to influence news coverage.
- Keep a clear-eyed sense of distrust of sources offering information for favors or money.
- Keep an open dialogue with the public in an effort to maintain and improve standards.
- Encourage the public to use the information they have to question and analyze news stories on their own, and voice grievances when they feel stories are wrong.
- Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
- Expose unethical practices among each other and wherever they are found to maintain professional standards.
- Keep the same high standards to which they hold others.
FOR SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND JUSTICE ADVOCATES
We hope you will look at RH Reality Check as a consistent source of breaking news, in-depth analyses and spot-on commentary for all issues of sexual and reproductive health and justice.
We hope you also see us as a key partner and ally in your work! Since 2006, RH Reality Check has served as a vehicle to help bring important stories to the mainstream media – stories framed and analyzed by you, the leading voices in the sexual and reproductive health landscape.
RH Reality Check‘s coverage of these issues has been widely circulated among top political, feminist, progressive, and other blogs including (but not limited to) Salon, In These Times, Care2, Feministing, The Economist, The Maddow Blog, and even the New York Times, helping to educate and inform people about the issues for which we – and you! – advocate. In addition, top reporters including (but not limited to) Nicolas Kristoff, Irin Carmon and Rachel Maddow have featured information and key findings from RH Reality Check articles to generate their own coverage of the issues. Comprehensive sexuality education advocates like our partners Advocates for Youth and SIECUS use RH Reality Check to highlight the ethical lapses and questionable tactics of the supporters of abstinence-only programs. AIDS Prevention advocates have used RH Reality Check to debut new advocacy campaigns that have generated extensive coverage for their causes.
RH Reality Check also partners with international conferences on reproductive health and justice issues to produce editorial content, generate interest in the conference and highlighting these crucial causes about which we all care deeply.
We are always available to speak with reporters or editors about any of our stories. To book RH Reality Check writers or Editor in Chief Jodi Jacobson, schedule interviews, or for general media inquiries, please contact Jodi Jacobson, Editor in Chief at email@example.com.
OUR PARTNERS: PAST AND PRESENT
*In alphabetical order.*
Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, Isis, Inc. – We worked in tandem with these organizations on Fresh Focus: Sex Ed Digital Video Contest. In addition, we presented at Isis, Inc.’s inaugural conference, Sex::Tech, on technology and sexual health education for youth in San Francisco. Our very own Martha Kempner was previously the SIECUS vice president for communications and information.
Alternet, Daily Kos and Firedoglake – Every day, we cross-post our favorite or most relevant posts on each one of these blogging platforms. Click here for our posts on Daily Kos, here for our posts on Alternet, and here for our posts on Firedoglake! And when in doubt, just search our name (RH Reality Check) using any of these three sites’ search engines and they should direct you to our posts.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – When it comes to many of the hot topics we’re reporting on, we need to get a sharpened legal perspective out to our readers; that’s where the ACLU comes in! The ACLU writes about the issues with which its members are involved (potential or impending legal cases, for example) right here on our site.
Americans for UNFPA – We have previously published a weekly or semi-weekly post from Anika Rahman on women’s global health issues.
Catholics for Choice – The Catholics for Choice help us incorporate a religious perspective on reproductive health into our work, and help us to support the facts using their unique angle. We support each other by working together on articles to change themistaken belief that religion and reproductive health are somehow contradictory to one another. They’re of immeasurable value to us, and to the causes that we both support!
Choice USA – In collaboration with Choice USA, RH Reality Check brings young women’s voices front and center to the reproductive justice dialogue. Previously, we published “Youth Voices” posts, which you can spot via the “Youth Voices” icon inside a post!
Caucus for Evidence-Based Prevention leading up to the Int’l AIDS Conference – We partnered with the Caucus of leading HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations to publish consistent content leading up to the IAC (International AIDS Conference) in 2008.
Gender Across Borders (GAB) – As an organization focused on gender, the issues GAB bloggers post about tend to be relevant to those of reproductive health and justice. We work with GAB to coordinate our efforts towards creating awareness about and providing education for these issues, often using each other’s sites as platforms by which to accomplish this.
Joint Action Committee For Political Affairs (JAC) – As a mobilizing agent for political action, JAC oftentimes has to address increasingly politicized reproductive rights issues. They employ our site to write about these issues, and JAC assists our efforts to keep raising awareness about the very same issues – a win-win situation!
Kansas NOW – We work closely with Kansas NOW’s State Coordinator, Kari Ann Rinker, to cover an array of reproductive and women’s issues stemming from Kansas and oftentimes affecting the status of reproductive rights and health care on a regional or even national level. Kari Ann serves as our reporter – our “eyes and ears,” so to speak – of the midwestern United States region.
Media Consortium – This is a consortium of independent, progressive publications. We are a participating member.
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) – We work together with the NLIRH to raise awareness about and publicize reproductive health issues disproportionately affect Latina women. We have worked in conjunction with the NLIRH – and often with other organizations as well – various times to publish articles or article series that will help us with our cooperative mission.
On The Issues Magazine – We partner up with On The Issues Magazine mainly to mutually to help promote each others’ coverage of abortion. Merle Hoffman, the Editor-in-Chief of On The Issues Magazine, is a former abortion provider and she (and her publications) and we make great efforts to serve as great resources to each other when it comes to abortion and reproductive health news and perspectives.
Oneworld.net – OneWorld U.S. members provide international perspectives on global issues gathered from OneWorld partners worldwide. We are one of these partners. RH Reality Check has been featured in their information products including on their site, in their weekly emails to global partners and on their yahoo news site.
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) – These medical experts provide the scoop for RHRC on the issues they are involved in. They pass on the word, and we serve as the platform by which spread it!
Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAct) – We and PPAct want the same things, and together we work to achieve them. PPAct points their readers towards important issues that we have covered (just take a peek at their blog roll, on the right of your screen if you click here!), and we post the articles they write about these issues whenever they need a platform to use to do it. Any time PPAct calls reproductive health activists to action, they can count on us to spread the word to our readers in the hopes that support for that action grows!
Scarleteen – Heather Corinna is the executive director of and lead educator at Scarleteen.com, and one of our regular writers. Each week, Heather posts on our site about real-world sex-related issues, providing our readers with a snippet of sex education (something we at RHRC prize very highly!).
Women Deliver Conference – We partnered with the Women Deliver Conference to publish a monthly article on our site from Jill Scheffield, director of Family Care International, one of the conference sponsors.
Youtube – Some of our original videos have been viewed over 10,000 times (!), and so we have partnered with Youtube on these videos to allow advertising on them on Youtube’s site in exchange for some pocket-change for each viewing. Pretty awesome! We also use Youtube to find many of our “Videos of the Day.”
Krista Jacob, editor of Abortion Under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice says, “RH Reality Check is an excellent resource.”
Gloria Feldt, former Planned Parenthood president and author: “I want to say how impressed I am with RH Reality Check. It is a fantastic site and very well promoted on the web as far as I can see. (Full disclosure, I contribute on occasion.) I particularly like that it has space for all aspects of the reproductive rights, health, and justice issues so by its very being it delivers the holistic message.”
Frances Kissling: “I loved RH Reality Check when I was president of Catholics for a Free Choice [now Catholics for Choice]. Now, as an independent writer and commentator it is indispensable. Crisp and timely news on every aspect of reproductive health and rights, access to the opinions of the world’s most prominent leaders in the field and generous links to the most important websites. I don’t leave home without it!”
The Women’s Health News Blog: “Are you reading the RH Reality Check blog? Because if you’re interested in reproductive rights and aren’t reading it, you’re missing out. Those folks are tireless …”
Bill Smith, SIECUS: “RH Reality Check has quickly become a key resource for advocates engaged in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Consistently fresh with top notch writing by staff and guests makes a daily visit to the site essential.”
Naina Dinghra, Global Fund for HIV/AIDS: “RH Reality Check is the best way to stay on top of hot news in the reproductive health and rights community. I love RH’s edgy commentary that gives analysis that you just can’t get in the mainstream news.”
Jon O’Brien, President, Catholics for Choice: “RH Reality Check is a vital tool in the battle we are waging over reproductive rights in the US and internationally. It’s a perfect antidote to counter all the right’s misinformation.”
Wednesday View: RH Reality Check publishes “surprisingly nuanced posts.”
Andrea Camp, Institute for Civil Society: “RH Reality Check is really emerging as a key hub for activism, thought, etc., so kudos for the patience and brains to know how and when to change and improve. I think it is a real model for other social change efforts.”
Girlistic: RH Reality Check is a “must-Read Blog on reproductive health.”
Tamar Abrams, Population Action International: “I have spent the past three hours cruising around the internet-awed and amazed by how widely [Population Action International’s] documentary has been disseminated. It is on Salon.com, on a website in Australia, on Alternet! RH Reality Check has been a catalyst for getting the video widely seen and discussed. I can´t tell you how impressed and overwhelmed I am. I come from the old school where you wrote things on paper and got them into the hands of the media one by one, hoping they would tell your story. This is a new world and one that is so much more effective in spreading messages. Your site played a huge role in all of this.”
Kate Bourne, International Women’s Health Coaltion: “I just discovered that RH Reality Check is very blackberry friendly!!! RH Reality Check really has become a fab resource!!!!”
Joerg Dwerke, Guttmacher Institute: “You guys are wonderful to work with and you certainly make my job much easier by offering us such a great outlet.”
Toys in Babeland: “RH Reality Check, one of the best reproductive rights blogs out there…”
ELECTION ENDORSEMENT DISCLAIMER
RH Reality Check does not endorse or lobby on behalf of any one candidate or political party. RH Reality Check has and continues to work hard to reach out to all of the candidates and both major political parties to ensure that all perspectives and voices on the issues central to our focus are represented.
Some RH Reality Check content may be available for reprint, upon permission. Please contact Managing Editor Lauren Kelley with reprint requests at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Reprint Request in the email subject.