I’ve written before about the importance of finding not just any expert but one with detailed expertise in the specific area you need when covering a study. In that context, it was with COVID-19, but the same holds true with any research. If you’re covering a nutrition study, calling up any nutritionist to get an outside opinion does not ensure you are getting a fully informed opinion from someone familiar with the evidence. You need a nutrition researcher who is very familiar with the specific research in the paper. Continue reading
The British Medical Association’s BMJ, one of the oldest and most respected family of medical journals, has launched a tool to better connect journalists with editors at The BMJ’s 70 or so journals.
The BMJ journals are peer reviewed, so there’s quality control and reliable standards at a time when non peer-reviewed and ethically questionable journals are popping up in our online searches. Continue reading
So you have a great medical study to cover – interesting topic, compelling results. All you need is an interview with the study’s authors to help bring the research home to readers.
That’s where things get tricky. The researcher you need to connect with before your oh-so-tight deadline has letters in his or her affiliation that don’t bode well for timely interviews: FDA, HHS, USDA, CMS.
Scoring an interview with a scientist who works for a government agency can be frustrating and full of dead ends. It shouldn’t be. AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee is working on improving reporters’ access to a number of government agencies.
But change is slow. And your deadlines won’t wait. What can you do today for a story that’s due tomorrow? Continue reading
If you’ve interviewed anyone with an M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. or Sc.D. after his or her name, you know: It’s often no easy feat to get your sources to speak in everyday language.
You start off the interview asking a simple, straightforward question but get a reply that, should you actually use it verbatim, is bound to make your editor cry, at best.
Freelance journalist Kathleen Doheny has come up with some strategies to coax more usable language out of sources. Find out what the “java approach” is, ways to suggest to your source that they use more reader-friendly words and how to coach them through the interview.
The Association of Health Care Journalists has urged President Barack Obama to end inherited policies that require public affairs officers to approve journalists’ interviews with federal staff.
Such policies, which are in place at such critical agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and most agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services, hamper newsgathering and make it difficult for reporters to fulfill their obligation to hold government agencies accountable, AHCJ said in a letter to the Obama administration.
Federal public information officers can play a key role in facilitating and coordinating communication, but have been used in recent years to inhibit the flow of information to the public rather than foster it. AHCJ members have reported waiting for days for permission to conduct an interview, or have had requests ignored or denied entirely.