2015 Topical Reporting, Medium Newsroom winner

The Broken Hip


Lauren Silverman, Eric Aasen, Ryan Tainter, Dane Walters, Jeff Whittington


Topical Reporting, Medium Newsroom


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About the Project

KERA is the NPR/PBS station serving Dallas-Fort Worth.  The Broken Hip is an in-depth online project focusing on one topic: hips.

When an older person falls and breaks a hip, it’s a moment that changes everything. Not just for patients, but for their families, too.

Falls are the leading cause of injury death for older Americans. One of every five people who breaks a hip after age 50 dies within a year.

For those who survive, it means a big life change. It may mean leaving the home they’ve known for decades and moving into a nursing home or an assisted living facility. It may mean a role reversal: a parent who cared for children for so many years now is the one who needs help. It means tough conversations between patients and their families. It can also bring on financial challenges.

But there is hope. There’s new research happening in Dallas-Fort Worth focusing on preventing falls and recovering from fractured hips faster. The Broken Hip explores the stories of North Texans and their families who have experienced this dramatic life change.

A significant feature of the series is an interactive graphic that shows how to make a bedroom fall-proof, highlighting various parts of the room, from lighting to chairs to closets. Videos feature several people profiled in the series as they share their experiences in their own words.  Graphics show the evolution of hip replacement – from ivory and plaster of Paris in the 1890s to today’s hip resurfacing.  An interactive graphic in Chapter 7 shows how much a broken hip costs to fix depending on where you live across the country. The graphic breaks down the amount hospitals, patients and Medicare pays.

Editors from The New York Times highlighted The Broken Hip on the NYT Now smartphone app. The Broken Hip was shared widely via social media – NPR’s Morning Edition shared the project on its Facebook page.

KERA worked with PBS’ Next Avenue, a service designed for people over 50, to place the series on its website and Facebook and Twitter accounts to expand the reach of the project. KERA also worked with Baylor Health in Dallas, which helped spread The Broken Hip via social media. Reporter Lauren Silverman conducted Twitter chats with health experts about hip fractures and ways to prevent falls. They used the hashtag #TheBrokenHip. A panel discussion featuring people in the series was held in September and livestreamed online as guests were encouraged to tweet highlights.

The Radio Television Digital News Association recently honored The Broken Hip with a regional Edward R. Murrow award for best news series.