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
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
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
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
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
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