Covering medical studies can be daunting but it is at the heart of health reporting. Reporting on major studies is important for any news organization to best serve its audience. The results influence every part of our health care system and even what products consumers choose.
Sometimes, reporting the problems, limitations and backstory of a study is what is important. Journalists covering health or medical news need to know about publication biases that exist in medical journals. They need to understand the complexity of reporting on research and be able to translate and explain it to their readers, viewers and listeners.
A few tools and techniques can help you sharpen your stories, deepen your reporting, and help you ask better questions of the experts you interview. You’ll learn how to find research trends and hear from experts how to navigate the challenges presented by different kinds of studies.
This site will highlight good coverage of research, explain complicated but essential key concepts, point you to useful data, shared wisdom from fellow reporters, as well as a growing glossary of terms.
We thank Columbia University Medical Center for the support that made this Web portal possible. The organization has not directed any content on these pages, but rather has provided financial sponsorship that allows us to pay for the costs associated with collecting, writing, editing and presenting the most valuable resources we can.
Send us ideas, questions, suggestions. Share your successes. Point us to good stories. Let us know how we can be more helpful. We wish you success as you pursue one of health journalism’s core topics.
About your topic leader
Tara Haelle, AHCJ’s topic leader on medical studies, is writing blog posts, editing tip sheets and articles and gathering resources to help our members cover medical research.
Tara Haelle is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader. She will help guide journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enable them to translate the evidence into accurate information that their readers can grasp.
Haelle is a freelance journalist and multimedia photographer who has particularly focused on medical studies over the past five years.
She specializes in reporting on vaccines, pediatrics, maternal health, obesity, nutrition and mental health. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post, Politico, Slate, NOVA, Wired and Science, and she writes regularly for HealthDay, Frontline Medical Communications, Forbes and her parenting science blog Red Wine & Apple Sauce. She is co-author of an evidence-based parenting book published in April 2016.
She will write tip sheets and background briefs, ask other journalists to share their experiences and she will curate lists of resources for journalists. Her blog posts for Covering Health will recognize important reporting on medical studies and offer journalists information about what to look for and what to steer clear of in their reporting.
If you have suggestions for Haelle, questions you’d like to see answered or examples of medical studies you’d like guidance on, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.