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.
Pamela Hartzband, M.D., talks about numbers and absolute and relative risk in drug ads.
Jerome Groopman, M.D., talks about how journalists should use anecdotes in their reporting and the power of health journalists in this talk from Health Journalism 2013 in Boston.
Pamela Hartzband, M.D., discusses the importance of being careful when reporting on medical studies and using absolute vs. relative numbers in this talk from Health Journalism 2013 in Boston.
What we don't know can hurt us: Industry bias against negative outcomes means vast amounts of research goes unpublished, Ben Goldacre says.
H. Gilbert Welch, MD, gives the presentation "The Two Most Misleading Numbers in Medicine" at the February, 2012, Advanced Study Weekend, presented by Dr. John and Mary McDougall. Click here for more videos. http://drmcdougall.com/
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Upcoming events on Medical Studies from the AHCJ calendar.