The Food and Drug Administration has banned a communications practice that troubled journalists and sparked protests from AHCJ and others.
The agency has forbidden its media staff from using “close-hold embargoes,” in which reporters receive early access to information provided they promise not to seek comments from others until the embargo lifts, according to a letter sent Thursday to Karl Stark, president of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Continue reading
A Freedom of Information request that takes weeks, if not months, to receive.
Repeatedly getting “No comment” from anyone you speak to.
Encountering a spokesperson who has no interest in building a relationship but, instead, serves as a barrier.
These issues – and how to address them – were discussed at the “Access Denied: How to get the story anyway” panel Thursday at Health Journalism 2016.
Veteran journalists shared how to best navigate the many challenges that journalists face. Continue reading
A year ago, AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee brokered an appeals process with the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services media office for reporters facing unreasonable delays or inadequate responses from agency public information officers.
I’m happy to report that we’ve had a number of successes since then in clearing information logjams for individual reporters and policing violations of HHS’s media policy. But a year’s experience with this process has also made us wiser about what we need from AHCJ members to be effective. Continue reading
The Association of Health Care Journalists has called upon the accreditor of physician residency programs to be more transparent with its data so the public can be better informed about the quality of graduate medical education programs in their communities.
In a letter sent last week to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, AHCJ praised the group for having a website that includes accreditation decisions for institutions and their individual training programs.
But it called on ACGME to publish additional information, echoing a similar call by an Institute of Medicine panel for greater transparency in graduate medical education.
“We believe ACGME can play an even greater leadership role by providing additional information or advocating for its release,” said the letter, signed by AHCJ president Karl Stark. “Doing so would be in keeping with the new Institute of Medicine report, which called for ‘transparency and accountability of GME programs.’” Continue reading
The recent chemical spill in West Virginia, which contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people, became another occasion when federal agencies shut the door on reporters seeking answers, fueling public anxiety with their silence.
But after complaints from journalism organizations, including AHCJ, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week issued a mea culpa and a pledge “to work to reach that critical balance between accuracy and timely release of information the public expects and needs to protect their health.”
The CDC told West Virginia health officials on Jan. 15 that pregnant women should not drink the water until the chemical, called Crude MCHM, was at “nondetectable levels.” Reporters from the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette had a lot of questions about this order – but could get no answers from the CDC press office. Continue reading