Category Archives: Covering medical studies

A cautionary tale: Have you checked that citation?

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Tom Walker via Flickr

No fewer than four of the 2016 winners of the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism covered the opioid epidemic from different angles. No surprise — former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy noted last year that more Americans suffer from addiction than from cancer. During his tenure, Murthy made the opioid crisis a top priority.

Murthy’s 2016 report on addiction has been compared to an influential report on smoking decades earlier, and he created a website devoted specifically to addressing the opioid crisis. But how much of it could have been prevented with a bit less complacency on the part of researchers? Continue reading

Everything you wanted to know about conflicts of interest (even if you weren’t afraid to ask)

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Sanofi Pasteur via Flickr

The May 2 special issue of JAMA is one to bookmark, because its theme is integral to the work of all journalists: reporting on conflicts of interest (COI). And the best part? The whole thing is free to the public — no paywalls.

As much as covering medical research is making sense of the numbers — statistics, p values, absolute risk, the number needed to treat and the rest — it’s also about good, old-fashioned journalism when it looking at all angles of a story. Continue reading

Helmsley Charitable Trust backs better health journalism with $1.3 million grant

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, the educational arm of the Association of Health Care Journalists, has been awarded a grant of nearly $1.3 million to provide educational opportunities and resources for journalists on health care issues that result in more knowledgeable reporters and better, more trustworthy, stories for the public.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust made the three-year grant of $1,291,452 to the Missouri-based center to boost the competency of the U.S. health journalist corps and to increase the number of other journalists capable of tackling stories that serve the general public in producing accurate and actionable information.

“We continue to see a hunger within the journalism world for focused career development, topical education and skills training that will lead to stronger stories and meaningful impact,” said Len Bruzzese, executive director of AHCJ. “The Helmsley Charitable Trust’s continued generous support recognizes how important it is to reward that desire to be better, to make a difference – now more than ever.”

The funding will support work in three general areas: conferences/workshops, fellowship programs and web resources.

Read more about the specific projects that will be supported.

Story ideas revealed in intersection of mental illness, criminal justice system

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

One of the sessions featured at Health Journalism 2017 in Orlando explored the intersection of the criminal justice system and mental illness in the United States from various angles. This Storify includes tweets from multiple attendees at the session – along with quite a number of leads for story ideas.

A fair amount of the session was unfortunately unsurprising in revealing how the justice system has become one of the nation’s biggest mental health care providers (if not the largest), but hearing about the sheer scale of the problem was nonetheless enlightening and disturbing. This topic area is rich with potential story ideas that are woefully undercovered and underappreciated. Continue reading

Experienced freelancers provide valuable tips, advice

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJEmily Gurnon, an editor with PBS Next Avenue, urges attendees to do research on the publications they pitch to. Michele Cohen Marill (right), an independent journalist in Atlanta, moderated the session.

Ah, the freelance life. Sleeping until noon. Working in your pajamas. Picking and choosing just the right assignments that appeal to and massage your fragile ego…

NOT!

As anyone who has done it can attest, being a freelance journalist is hard. And complicated. And just like staff jobs, there are rules, protocols, and methodologies to follow. Continue reading