Tag Archives: language

Be sure terminology about transgender-related studies is appropriate

By Rumpusparable via Wikimedia Commons

More and more medical studies are focusing on research about transgender individuals: demographics, surgeries, insurance coverage, unique health needs, prevalence of mental health conditions, pregnancy, hormone therapy and any number of other issues and research questions related to transgender identity. That means journalists covering these studies need to be sure they are using appropriate terminology and not inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes or stigma. Continue reading

Highlights from AHCJ’s recent webcast about reporting on addiction, recovery

Image: National Council for Behavioral HealthTom Hill described a so-called “three-legged stool” approach to addiction treatment and recovery during an August webcast sponsored by AHCJ.

Last week’s AHCJ webinar about responsible, accurate reporting on addiction and recovery issues pointed out the importance of sensitive, accurate coverage of the issue and ways in which journalists can improve their coverage.

AHCJ members who missed the live webcast can still watch the Aug. 24 presentation by speaker Tom Hill, M.S.W., vice president of addiction and recovery at the National Council for Behavioral Health. Continue reading

How the language we use to communicate about disease matters

Photo: Gerald Streiter via Flickr

Photo: Gerald Streiter via Flickr

Does language make a difference when we address serious health issues such as Alzheimer’s and other diseases? Absolutely, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.

Avoid the “war” metaphors, advises Daniel R. George, an assistant professor of medical humanities at the college. While such terminology is common in the medical community and the media, such language can backfire by creating fear and stigma, turning patients into victims and even diverting resources from preventive care. Continue reading

How one writer looked inward to reassess pronouns and gender

Photo: Jennyrotten via Flickr

Photo: Jennyrotten via Flickr

I have yet to find a writer who hasn’t looked back on a story and found something that they could have done better – or worse: something wrong. Sometimes readers or critics do that for you.

For Christine Grimaldi, feedback after what should have been a routine piece for Slate led the Washington, D.C.-based freelancer’s eyes to question assumptions she had made about gender, sexuality and pronouns. Her mistakes led to what she called “one of the worst days of my professional career.” But she managed to turn it around into a primer for other journalists. Continue reading

How we talk about cancer: Insights on language for journalists

Photo: National Cancer Institute

Photo: National Cancer Institute

The public radio show “On the Media” recently devoted its entire hour to an insightful and poignant episode on cancer and how we talk about it, simply and appropriately named “The Cancer Show.”

It actually first aired in March as the first of a two-part series (part two is here), but I missed it, so I’m grateful for the October rerun.

Unlike most episodes, this one did not focus on a particular recent story or even on several recent stories in the news. Rather, producers took a big picture approach that every journalist who might ever write about cancer should listen to. Continue reading