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Resources: AHCJ Publications

Books

Slim Guide | Covering Medical Research

Covering Medical Research

This guide will help journalists analyze and write about health and medical research studies. It offers advice on recognizing and reporting the problems, limitations and backstory of a study, as well as publication biases in medical journals and it includes 10 questions you should answer to produce a meaningful and appropriately skeptical report. We hope this guide, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will be a road map to help you do a better job of explaining research results for your audience.

Chapters deal with the hierarchy of evidence, putting types of research into context, scrutinizing the quality of evidence, phases of clinical trials, explaining risk, embargoes, pitfalls of news from scientific meetings, criteria for judging your story and more. The guide links to online resources throughout.

Posted: 09/01/10

Slim Guide | Covering the Health of Local Nursing Homes

Covering the Health of Local Nursing HomesWith an aging populace in the United States, this reporting guide gives a head start to journalists who want to pursue stories about one of the most vulnerable populations – nursing home residents. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this guide offers advice about Web sites, datasets, research and other resources.

After reading this book, journalists can have more confidence in deciphering nursing home inspection reports, interviewing advocacy groups on all sides of an issue, locating key data, and more. The book includes story examples and ideas.

Posted: 11/03/09

Slim Guide | Navigating the CDC: A Journalist’s Guide to the CDC Web Site

Slim guide:Navigating the CDCThe latest guide, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, walks reporters through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site and highlights data resources. It is a starting place for finding national or state data and surveys when writing health stories. A Fast Stats section has clickable links to pages about specific diseases, conditions or datasets for reporters on deadline. For those who want to learn more, there are step-by-step instructions with examples, story ideas and tips from published stories that used CDC statistics.

Posted: 10/10/08

Slim Guide | Covering Obesity: A Guide for Reporters

Covering ObesityThe prospect of covering such a broad, engaging and important topic as obesity can be overwhelming. This guide, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed to help journalists cover a wide range of stories, whether writing on deadline or researching a multipart series. It offers assistance on calculating body mass index, finding obesity statistics on the state level, gauging the quality of school district wellness policies, finding innovative school nutrition policies and much more. Supplementary material can be found on this page.

Posted: 09/07/07

Covering Health in a Multicultural Society

Cover imageThis 200-page, large-format reporting guide was supported by a grant from The California Endowment and serves as a tool for understanding the increasing diversity of the audiences we serve. It is meant to expand your knowledge of what culture, ethnicity, health and well-being mean to people from a variety of backgrounds. The book is available online for AHCJ members or a hard copy can be requested.

AHCJ launched an interactive e-class as the online companion to "Covering Health in a Multicultural Society." Enroll in the class and take part in discussion forums and take short quizzes to test your knowledge. Complete the e-class, and you can download or print a certificate of completion. The course is a resource for understanding the increasing diversity of the audiences AHCJ members serve.

Posted: 07/17/06

Slim Guide | Covering Hospitals: Using Tools on the Web

Cover imageThis guide points reporters to Web tools that interpret government data on health care quality and takes them step by step through the process of using these tools. Drawing on a pool of millions of Medicare patients and treatments at thousands of hospitals, the data offer comparisons that will inspire better reporting and better coverage of your community hospitals. The slim guide, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is available online to AHCJ members.

Posted: 06/15/06

Covering the Quality of Health Care: A Resource Guide for Journalists

Cover imageThis guide is intended to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting. It is designed to help journalists cover this critical issue in an informed, systematic way. It provides crucial context and vital data to make it useful as a quick reference when doing breaking news stories or as a thoughtful, provocative starting point when working on long-range stories. This book is available online to members and a hard copy can be requested.

Posted: 06/01/02

Issues of HealthBeat

Spring 2014

 Spring 2014 HealthBeat

• Hundreds attend Health Journalism 2014
• Health care too vast a coverage area without the generosity of your peers
• Contracts 101 for freelancers
• Covering hospital ratings
• Marijuana debate: Taxes, research and regulation
• Data on home births
• AHCJ recognizes top reporting in annual awards presentation
• Local chapter updates
• Member news

Posted: 06/26/14

Summer 2013

 Summer 2013 HealthBeat

• Nearly 800 attend AHCJ's annual conference in Boston
• Covering medical research on deadline requires a plan
• Database offers access to hospital inspection reports
• Doctors discuss "medical minds," importance of context in reporting
• Having a business mindset key to successful freelance career
• Cancer registries can provide story ideas, context and data
• AHCJ joins international group representing science journalists
• AHCJ prods government to detail food stamp sales
• Readmissions, the drug store and a sleep-deprived patient
• Focus on freelancing: Keys to negotiating fair contracts
• Workshop uncovers health issues, story ideas unique to rural regions

Posted: 07/12/13

Winter 2013

 Winter 2013 HealthBeat

• Boston Seaport District site of 2013 conference
• Race to electronic health records may come with price
• Health reporter's ultimate lesson: His mother's final days
• Use hospital readmission data to explore key issues
• Fellows spend week at National Library of Medicine
• 2013 AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance named
• "Covering Medical Studies" added to AHCJ's Core Curriculum series

Posted: 07/12/13

Summer 2012

 Summer 2012 HealthBeat

• Recap and highlights from Health Journalism 2012
• Suspicious deaths of seniors rarely investigated
• Lieberman steps down
• Members key to public information efforts
• Aging, oral health get spotlight
• Annual award winners
• Renewing our reporting focus on the health aspects of health reform

Posted: 10/15/12

Winter 2012

 Winter 2012 HealthBeat

• Annual conference to offer panels, field trips and more 
• Access denied: Looking at a lack of health care availability
• Reporting on hospital executives' pay
• Liability insurance for freelancers
• AHCJ website expands reporting resources
• Health reform debuts as web-based ‘Core Curriculum’ resource for journalists

Posted: 05/09/12

Spring/Summer 2011

 Fall 2011 HealthBeat

• Team investigates region’s high infant mortality rate 
• Experts, mother offer tips for reporting on autism
• Advances in medicine come from frontlines of military trauma care
• What editors wish writers knew
• Officials, reporters offer conflicting advice on getting public documents
• AHCJ revises membership rules


Posted: 07/19/11

Fall 2010

 Fall 2010 HealthBeat

• Latest AHCJ reporting guide focuses on covering medical studies
• Health Journalism 2011 set to make history in Philadelphia
• Using Medicaid data
• Promoting AHCJ's freelancers
• Information key in crisis
• Mapping tools available


Posted: 04/21/11

Summer 2010

 Summer 2010 HealthBeat

• AHCJ membership guidelines updated, made more inclusive
• New fellowship program encourages examination of health care systems
• Patient safety, reform, H1N1 top annual conference agenda
• Uncovering conflicts of interest in medicine, research
• Covering a complex story for the long haul
• Committee focuses on PIO issues


Posted: 08/31/10

Winter 2010

 Winter 2010 HealthBeat
  • Annual conference to offer panels, field trips and more
  • Series shows how location, lifestyle, status affect health
  • New AHCJ board president offers vision of bright future
  • Journalists selected for AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowships
  • AHCJ announces 2009-10 Midwest Health Journalism Program fellows 

Posted: 05/28/10

Summer-Fall 2009

HealthBeat Summer-Fall 2009 cover
  • Paper's investigation reveals contaminated drinking water
  • Six AHCJ-NLM fellows chosen
  • Right to Know Committee takes stands on openness issues
  • Outgoing president presents state of the association, notes transition with pride
  • Membership elects new board members
  • Spotlight on aging at October workshop

Posted: 11/04/09

Winter 2009

 HealthBeat Winter 2009
  • Health Journalism 2009 set for April 16-19 in Seattle
  • Conversation with Health Affairs author reveals hospital ratings not perfect
  • 2009 AHCJ-CDC fellows selected
  • Scott Allen, part of the team that uncovered hospital pricing secrets, talks about how the Boston Globe team got the story
  • Member mentoring program launched
  • San Francisco and Philadelphia chapter roundups
  • Covering Health blog debuts
  • Around the World with AHCJ - Out of Africa
  • AHCJ member news

Posted: 07/08/09

Fall 2008

HealthBeat Fall 2008

• AHCJ unveils assistance plan for 'downsized' members
• Urban Workshop keynote puts focus on mental health
• President's corner: Journalists must do better to inform, educate public
• Kaiser starting health news service
• Study raises concerns over disclosure in health stories
• Journalists face 'health literacy' hurdles in reaching audience
• AHCJ to launch mentor program
• AHCJ makes federal hospital data easier to use
• Atlanta reporter checks up on school vaccination compliance
• New blog, webcast highlight latest Web site resources
• Around the world with AHCJ
• News about members and chapters 

Posted: 01/06/09

Summer 2008

HealthBeat Summer 2008

• AHCJ, SPJ warn newsrooms against unhealthy alliances
• Preview of Urban Health Journalism Workshop
• Putting a human face on candidates' health plans
• New board seated for 2008-09
• Member news and new members
• AHCJ chapter news
• Second class of Midwest Health Journalism fellows named
• Webcast series kicks off with episode on the underinsured
• Health writer reflects on shaky times in the newsroom
• New multicultural class debuts online

Posted: 10/27/08

2008 Spring

 HealthBeat Spring 2008
  • Record crowd turns out for annual conference
  • Newspaper’s deal with hospital scuttled
  • President’s corner: AHCJ membership hits new high
  • AHCJ holds first rural health journalism workshop
  • A glimpse at health journalism paychecks
  • Member and chapter news
  • W.Va. paper chronicles state’s oral health problem
  • FOIA survey: FDA’s slow response means stories go unpublished
  • AHCJ's stand against hospital confidentiality agreements
  • Midwest fellows program graduates first class

Posted: 07/17/08

2008 Winter

HealthBeat Winter 2008
  • Foundations stepping into news game
  • Candidates' health reform language needs closer scrutiny, definition
  • New guidelines strengthen AHCJ's journalism commitment
  • Freelancers on the hunt for decent health insurance
  • Courant reporters investigate nursing home chain
  • AHCJ members contribute timely tip sheets, articles for Web site

 

Posted: 02/27/08

2007 Fall

HealthBeat Fall 2007
  • NYC workshop explores issues, offers ideas on urban health
  • Major grant from RWJ Foundation will support AHCJ's core efforts
  • If candidates won't focus on aging issues, journalists better
  • Hospitals ask reporters to sign confidentiality agreements
  • Bay Area workshop addresses regional multicultural issues
  • Articles, multimedia on AHCJ Web site bring training to members
  • Online jobs scarce for health reporters - but freelance opportunities abound
  • Women's magazines can miss wider views of health issues
 

Posted: 12/20/07

2007 Summer

HealthBeat Summer 2007
  • Fall workshop in New York delves into urban health issues
  • ‘Sick' mixes health policy history, short narratives for chilling picture
  • Crute wins seat on AHCJ board
  • President's corner: Federal privacy law needs some sunshine
  • Member news, new members and AHCJ chapter news
  • Rats! Animal studies poor predictor of human effect
  • Georgia event brings health, medical stories to reporters
  • Kansas, Missouri journalists named Midwest Health Journalism Program fellows
  • AHCJ's new Web site offers exclusive resources
  • Full-time training coordinator hired
  • Uncovering mystery deaths in state mental hospitals
  • New AHCJ guide has the skinny on obesity resources, coverage
  • Members make donations to Center for Excellence

Posted: 08/15/07

2007 Spring

HealthBeat Spring2007
  • Health journalism degree programs provide new path into field
  • New CUNY program gives students tools to do more in-depth health reporting
  • Bob Segall of WTHR-Indianapolis writes about "Diving into prescription privacy"
  • AHCJ chapter roundup: Chicago, New York, San Francisco Bay Area
  • Chicago Tribune editor: How a medical story makes the front page
  • N.J. pharmaceutical reporter becomes full-time blogger
  • Journal's new blog breaks stories, offers analysis
  • Passion for public service journalism leads to Web site
  • Schwarzenegger, Case address record conference crowd
  • Award winners recognized at Health Journalism 2007
  • AHCJ's membership passes 1,000
  • Appleby to fill vacant board position

 

Posted: 05/22/07

2007 Winter

Cover - HealthBeat Winter 2007
  • Plans for Health Journalism 2007: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to brief reporters, Steve Case to offer keynote address, Hollywood and Health takes center stage and more
  • Newsroom cutbacks hit health reporting ranks
  • A look at newspapers' health Web pages
  • How LA Times reporters Investigated organ transplant centers
  • Advice on evaluating the newsworthiness of medical studies
  • Latest member news

 

Posted: 02/01/07

2006 Fall

Cover - HealthBeat Fall 2006
  • Highlights from AHCJ's Regional Conference in Cleveland
  • Covering Medicare Part D from several perspectives
  • Using the Kaiser Family Foundation’s statehealthfacts.org database
  • How being a physician and a journalist boosts one TV doc's reporting
  • Using health teams to coordinate newsroomwide health coverage

Posted: 11/01/06

2006 Summer

Cover - HealthBeat Summer 2006
  • AHCJ Web site gets revamped; full-time Web editor is hired
  • 2006-07 board takes office
  • AHCJ plans to grow overseas membership
  • Why public health matters
  • AHCJ forms task force on pandemic, bird flu issues
  • HealthNewsReview.org ‘grades’ news stories
  • AHCJ publishes multicultural health guide

Posted: 09/01/06

2006 Spring

Cover - HealthBeat Spring 2006
  • AHCJ board approves strategic plan
  • The FOI Front
  • Houston conference draws record attendance
  • Award-winning series tests family's blood for chemicals
  • AHCJ's second annual Excellence in Health Care Journalism Awards

Posted: 05/01/06

2006 Winter

Cover - HealthBeat Winter 2006
  • Dozens of sessions promise top training
  • Houston: More than cowboy boots, big hair
  • Five impertinent questions for a TV medical correspondent
  • Best of the listserv: Robotic surgery
  • Working for transparency in clinical trial reporting

Posted: 02/01/06

2005 Fall

Cover - HealthBeat Fall 2005
  • Health Journalism 2006 set for Houston
  • Enter the AHCJ Journalism Contest Early - And Often
  • President's corner
  • New members
  • Member news
  • Houston Conference
  • Changing Medicaid
  • Board elects new member to fill vacant position

Posted: 11/01/05

2005 Summer

Cover - HealthBeat Summer 2005
  • AHCJ Chooses IRE's Bruzzese as Executive Director
  • AHCJ Names Winners in Excellence in Health Care Journalism Awards
  • Pandemic Flu
  • President's Letter
  • Advocacy in Action: Our Letter to the FDA
  • Member News

Posted: 09/01/05

2004 Fall

Cover - HealthBeat Fall 2004
  • Statement of Principles
  • Ten Easy Steps to Creating Your Local AHCJ Chapter
  • President's Letter
  • Best of the Listserv
  • Member News
  • Neutral Reporting in Healthcare

Posted: 11/01/04

2004 Spring

Cover - HealthBeat Spring 2004
  • Durham, N.C., hosts 2005 national conference
  • Members approve new tax status
  • Stories about medical devices offer great fodder for aggressive reporters
  • President's letter
  • Messy, maddening hospital projects gives readers new tools
  • Data on nursing homes needed for consistent regulation
  • Cheating the mentally ill; authors tells a personal story
  • Consumer-driven health plans come on fast
  • Freelance writing: thriving in a tough market
  • Member news
  • Renew now; Dues increase July 1
  • Journalists should rely on independent evidence, say cancer research and journalist
  • Biotech on our Plates: what are they doing to our food?
  • Pursuing Native American health issues

Posted: 05/01/04

2004 Winter

Cover - HealthBeat Winter 2004
  • Diseases o’ the day drive journalists from their calendars
  • NIH director to speak at AHCJ’s fifth national conference
  • President’s letter
  • Hot Spots in O4: AHCJ 2004 National Conference information and tentative agenda
  • Member news
  • The practicality and ethics of e-mail interviewing
  • Launching a new public health beat
  • Challenging the news industry to pay for training

Posted: 02/01/04

2003 Fall

Cover - HealthBeat Fall 2003
  • Don't miss the AHCJ national conference; Make plans now to attend in March
  • Best of the AHCJ listserv
  • Board meeting re-cap
  • Contributors
  • AHCJ establishes Freedom of Information committee
  • Health, hope and hype: Why the media oversells medical 'breakthroughs'
  • Member news
  • Merely lights and wires?
  • Pitchfalls: Freelancing ideas
    Why editors turn you down
  • Politics and science in the Bush administration
  • President's letter

Posted: 11/01/03

2003 Summer

Cover - HealthBeat Summer 2003
  • Following AIDS funds using FOIA; Using data to settle conflicting claims
  • How the media left the evidence out in the cold
  • President's letter
  • New medical privacy rule is bad medicine for press
  • Advice from some pros on recording equipment
  • Covering the myths and realities of the malpractice crisis
  • Survey of AHCJ freelancers helps set priorities, create services
  • Something to think about...
  • '04 AHCJ conference program shaping up to be a winner
  • Hitting the Headlines
  • Learning from the Pleconaril story: guidelines for medical reporting
  • Member news
  • 2003 Contributors
  • Tips for using FOIA
  • Ask an expert

Posted: 09/01/03

2003 Spring

Cover - HealthBeat Spring 2003
  • Pulitzer winner tells how she approaches health stories
  • News coverage of SARS poses challenges and health risks for journalists
  • President's Letter
  • AHCJ membership elects four new board members; Re-elects two incumbents
  • Surgeon general calls obesity top health threat
  • Member news
  • AHCJ's 2004 national conference set in a medical hot spot
  • Useful lessons from reporting the anthrax story: a journalist describes what happened and shares what he learned
  • CDC names Public Health Journalism Fellows
  • Advice from a Pulitizer Prize winner
  • Tips & FYIs
  • Five journalists have been selected as 2003 Kaiser Media Fellows

Posted: 05/01/03

2003 Winter

Cover - HealthBeat Winter 2003
  • How the Internet creates new ways to tell health stories
  • Provocative speakers, timely topics set for fourth national conference: Exploring the Western Edge of Health Care and tentative program
  • President's Letter
  • Obesity: An oft-told story that misses the mark
  • Renting the mailing list helps generate revenue
  • How the evolution of statistics fueled scientific advances, created adversaries and improved Guinness beer
  • Member News
  • NIH sponsors conference to help journalists tackle stories on medical research
  • Crafting a well-told story: "Think like a poet, work like a bookkeeper"
  • Gain an advantage: get to know the healthcare trade press
  • How mainstream reporters can find trade pubs
  • Medical Privacy vs. the Public Interest: A Reporter's Guide

Posted: 02/01/03

2002 Fall

Cover - HealthBeat Fall 2002
  • Embargo battle between JAMA and Free Press stirs debate
  • Fourth national AHCJ conference slated for March in San Francisco
  • HHS Secretary promises open and quick access to information
  • President's Letter
  • Celebrities' maladies makes news; Is that good for the public's health?
  • Science and markets: Do embargoes create a level playing field or an opportunity for advantage (Reprinted with permission from The Wall Street Journal)
  • Board approves $5 increase in 2003 dues
  • Time, training and the boss seen as key obstacles to high-quality work
  • Moderating a listserve is tricky business
  • AHCJ listserve guidelines
  • Member news
  • Another AHCJ member benefit: Free subscription to Quality and Safety in Health Care
  • Job-hunting horror stories (Reprinted with permission from Editor and Publisher)
  • Attendees rate conference as valuable
  • Entry deadline for IRE awards approaches
  • Letter from India

Posted: 11/01/02

2002 Summer

Cover - HealthBeat Summer 2002
  • HIPAA regulations thwart reporters
  • Power Reporting with GIS
  • Federal reorganization plan could threaten public access to health information
  • AHCJ unveils resource guide on covering the quality of care
  • Newsmakers discuss being under a media microscope
  • Members select three new directors; re-elect three
  • Member news
  • Eighteen journalists chosen to participate in CDC programs
  • Conference slated for San Francisco

Posted: 09/01/02

2000 Fall

Cover - HealthBeat Fall 2000
  • Journalist's study finds flaws in medical reporting
  • AHCJ board elects two interim officers, including a new president and board member
  • Information about upcoming conference in Atlanta in March
  • Getting your camera past the waiting room
  • Helpful web sites for health care journalists
  • 'Firestone' Memorial Medical Center?
  • Life after fellowships: Is a soft-landing possible?
  • Update on Dr. Swango

Posted: 11/01/00

Other Publications

Training Module: Covering Hospitals - Preview Edition

Covering Hospitals training moduleThis innovative simulation will hone your critical-thinking skills and give you the beat-specific knowledge needed to cover the hospitals in your community. You will be a rookie health beat reporter, investigating local hospitals on deadline, working with your editor to find the focus of your story and craft the lead. You'll tap into the same tools that you'll use on the job, and you'll have a virtual "mentor" to walk you through the maze of reports, statistics and sources. As the simulation progresses, you'll uncover additional sources, and the story you thought was unfolding might take unexpected turns.

Posted: 05/04/07

 

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