Professor: Research, training can improve South African health journalism

In discussing a large grant his university has received and the center for health journalism that it will fund, South African professor Guy Berger (bio) has unleashed a scathing critique of African health journalism, and of the profession as a whole.

Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. Photo by Pierre Nel via Flickr

Berger says South African health journalists don’t look hard enough for real news, don’t know enough about health care, and aren’t even that good at telling the stories that they do uncover.

It’s a dire picture, of course, but Berger’s overall message is one of hope. He implies that there’s a lot of great work to be done on health and the health care industry in in South Africa and the new center, he says, could help make health journalism the “healthiest trend-setter for the whole family of journalism.”

The “Discovery Centre for Health Journalism” will be funded by a $2 million grant from South African insurer Discovery Health. It will offer an honors program, six annual scholarships and an “annual symposium for working health journalists and stakeholders.” Berger also writes that it will “enjoy full academic freedom.”

For more on the center and African health journalism, see Issa Sikiti da Silva’s related post on

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  1. Pingback: South African academic: Conflict of interest went unnoticed in obesity stories : Covering Health

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