Check out these presentations from Health Journalism 2007 to improve your understanding of medical statistics, research, and quantitative data. See it now »
New Resource Link
Making sense of studies on nutrition and supplements
Examine.com provides independent analysis of the latest research on nutrition and supplements. See it now »
New How I Did It
Using data to expose the risks of home births
After analyzing newly collected data, reporter Markian Hawryluk wrote: "If home birth were a drug, it would be taken off the market." See it now »
Whether you’re a health reporting specialist or a general assignment reporter who is just picking up the health beat for the first time, covering a medical study can be a bit daunting. Most reporters got into journalism to nurse a love of words, after all. But reporters who cover medical research need to know as much about math as they do about language and storytelling. Often, the story is in the numbers. Good health reporters are also translators, turning the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research into language that average readers can grasp.
As dry and formal as medical studies may seem, they also have beating hearts. There are the researchers who may spend months or years conducting trials and tabulating and interpreting results to produce the final paper. There are patients who participated in clinical trials. There are the readers who will be affected by the information we communicate. There are doctors who have to figure out whether or even how to integrate new findings into patient care.