Category Archives: Covering medical studies

When is an interviewee’s sexual preference relevant to your story?

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Sensitivity in writing about research related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals means more than paying attention to language and potential stereotypes in your story.

It also means making decisions about what information is even necessary to disclose about those you interview, especially if you’re writing about research where a person’s sexual preference may not necessarily be as relevant as it first seems. Continue reading

Writing about think tanks and using their research: A cautionary tip sheet

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Most reporting on medical research relies on peer-reviewed studies published in medical journals. But independent corporations, nonprofits, advocacy organizations and other institutions conduct their own research. Moreover, they seek media coverage of their findings, usually (albeit not always) to serve their objectives and interests.

One such organization is a think tank, an organization ostensibly aimed at objectively researching and analyzing a particular issue and policy solutions to that issue – but, more often, influenced by an ideological bias that drives their findings. Continue reading

Genetic testing company blames press coverage for bankruptcy filing

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Charles Piller

Proove Biosciences, a genetic testing company in Irvine, Calif., was placed into court-ordered receivership at the end of August for “restructuring and asset sale.” Proove’s founder and former CEO Brian Meshkin has blamed the company’s financial problems on investigative articles that Charles Piller, West Coast editor for Stat, wrote about the company’s lead product over the last several months, according to Pillar’s coverage of the receivership proceedings.

Meshkin, who called Piller’s reporting about Proove “erroneous and damaging.” He claimed that stories were based on false allegations from disgruntled employees, ignoring that Piller also had quoted genetic testing experts skeptical of the scientific claims behind the Proove Opioid Risk test. Proove has marketed the test as a way for doctors to predict a patient’s likelihood of becoming addicted to opioids. Continue reading

Some do’s and don’ts when interviewing people with disabilities

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

NPS Graphics via commons.wikimedia.org

As I write this blog post, I’m scheduled to interview two individuals for a story based on a study about autism and its link to an increased risk of certain comorbidities. One person is an autistic adult, and the other is the parent of an adolescent diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

At this point in my career, I have spoken with many autistic individuals and count several among my friends, but before I had known anyone on the autism spectrum, I likely would have felt a bit of initial uneasiness: Is there anything I should or shouldn’t say or do? Will they communicate in ways I am familiar with? Will they understand how I am trying to communicate? Continue reading

Vaida to lead newest AHCJ core topic effort: infectious diseases

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida, an independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., will lead AHCJ’s newest core topic on infectious diseases.

She will be guiding AHCJ members to the resources they need to cover the many aspects of covering infectious diseases through blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other material. The core topic area of healthjournalism.org will feature a glossary, a more lengthy explanation of key concepts, shared wisdom from other reporters, story ideas and more. Continue reading