Tag Archives: health care journalism

Reporter describes opportunities, challenges in covering oral health stories in ethnic neighborhoods

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Laura Klivans/KQEDDentist Richard Choi volunteers his time screening students at San Francisco’s public schools for overall oral health. He grew up in the Chinatown and North Beach communities and likes revisiting schools he once attended.

Tooth decay puts a particularly heavy burden upon children of color, as do the pain and tooth loss that can result from untreated disease. With a growing recognition of the problem, professional, school and public health leaders in some communities are banding together to take action.

There are compelling stories to be reported about these efforts, as health reporter Laura Klivans found on her beat. In a recent State of Health story for KQED News, Klivans reported on a coalition that is bringing dental care to children in one San Francisco’s minority neighborhood. The story also gave her audience a better understanding of the specific factors that are contributing to the community’s high decay rate. Continue reading

New tip sheet focuses on writing for an older audience

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: Condoriano via Flickr

Photo: Condoriano via Flickr

Most journalists do a great job of writing for their audience. But it can be easy to forget that part of your audience may include older adults who often struggle with issues of health literacy, cognitive impairment or language problems.

As Medicare Open Enrollment season gets underway, this is a good time to consider story structure and how the information seniors may rely on is framed. While most of these tips probably are more applicable to journalists at consumer media, writers for more specialized journals and outlets can also benefit. Continue reading

List of 2009’s best includes health care stories

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.

Conor Friedersdorf of TrueSlant.com includes a number of health-care related stories among his list of best journalism of 2009. See his post for links and comments about each of his choices:

  • “AIDS Relief and Moral Myopia” by Travis Kavulla in The New Atlantis
  • ProPublica’s Sheri Fink’s piece, “Strained by Katrina, a Hospital Faced Deadly Choices,” which appeared in The New York Times Magazine
  • “Brain Gain” in The New Yorker by Margaret Talbot
  • “An Epidemic of Fear,” in Wired, by Amy Wallace
  • The  New Yorker piece, “The Cost Conundrum,” by Atul Gawande
  • “How American Health Care Killed My Father,” by David Goldhill, writing for The Atlantic
  • “Fine Print,” for the radio program This American Life
  • This American Life also gets a nod for a two-part broadcast explaining the American health care system
  • “Game Drain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas in GQ

Schwitzer: Reliance on journals hinders coverage

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.

AHCJ member and past board member Gary Schwitzer is featured on the cover of Minnesota magazine, the bimonthly publication of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.

In the magazine, Schwitzer, who is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota and publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, discusses the quality of health reporting and questions he says journalists are not answering:

We’re not asking tough questions: What’s the quality of evidence? Who’s going to have access to it? What’s it going to cost? Who’s your source? What are his or her conflicts of interest?

When asked about reporters who are doing a good job, Schwitzer cites AHCJ board member and Associated Press medical writer Carla Johnson for her evidence-based reporting and AHCJ member Scott Hensley, who was – until yesterday – co-editor of The Wall Street Journal Health Blog.