Tag Archives: reporting

How to be more effective in communicating risk to readers

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.

Photo: Sasha You via Flickr

One of the most challenging aspects about reporting on medical research is the need to convey risk in a meaningful way to readers. Human brains are not wired to understand risk in the way we need to understand it in the 21st century. Our brains evolved to assess risks for very different environments and threats than those we face today ― particularly in a time of pandemic. Continue reading

How to find local public health sources for your coronavirus coverage

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf via FlickrMicrobiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories.

Getting accurate data and information from local and state public officials is central to all journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic, but what can reporters do when it’s hard to get local public health departments even to answer the phone or emails?

Local, state and federal budget constraints, over the past decade, have meant a loss of 56,000 jobs in the public health sector, including many public information officer and other communications positions. When the pandemic emerged in March, public health departments had few people with science backgrounds to communicate with the public. Continue reading

Use caution when reporting on pandemic potential of Wuhan coronavirus

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Let Ideas Compete via Flickr Wearing medical masks to help prevent disease is common throughout China and the rest of Asia.

The novel coronavirus from China that had infected at least 634 people as of early today has led some media to report about the potential of a pandemic.

Reporters localizing the story for their audiences should be able to answer these questions: When does an infectious disease outbreak become a pandemic, and is it likely with this virus? How worried should Americans be? Continue reading

New tip sheet helps you ‘background like a boss’

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.

Photo: Karina Smigla-Bobinski via Flickr

In late January, Kate Howard, managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, conducted one of the most important webinars for any journalist — green or seasoned — to watch: “Perfecting the 15-minute background check – for all sources.” How important is it? Well, she presents her tips every single year at the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference, teaching attendees how to “background like a boss,” and the room is packed every time. Continue reading

Conference coverage 101: New tip sheet can ease your experience at the event

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.

Photo: raymondclarkeimages via Flickr

Covering medical conferences is the bread and butter of many health journalists, especially if they write for trade publications. A previous tip sheet offered tips for how to prepare for covering a medical conference, and now we’ve compiled a tip sheet aimed at making the most of a conference while you’re on the ground rushing from session to session.

Policies, schedules, location layout, press room amenities, conference structure and other characteristics vary from one conference to another, but most of the tips we offer will apply to nearly every research conference, big or small, in any discipline or subspecialty. Continue reading

Freelance investigative reporting may not be easy, but it’s possible

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.

Investigative reporting is not easy as a freelance journalist, but it’s not impossible either.

The Health Journalism 2019 session on investigative reporting for freelancers on Saturday revealed tips, resources and success stories to inspire freelancers to dig deeper into those suspicions they have about a story — and the hundreds or thousands of documents that it likely involves. Continue reading