Editors often want people with lived experience in stories. The question is, where to find them? I spoke with four freelance reporters about their experience using social media to find “real” people to interview. You can find their advice in this tip sheet under the Pitching, Reporting & Writing tab on the Freelance Center. Here is a preview of what they had to say.
Tag Archives: social media
Monkeypox experts to follow on social media
The monkeypox story has been evolving quickly this year, moving from a pathogen that wasn’t on the radar for most people to a global outbreak that led the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency on July 23.
To boost your reporting on this topic, use social media and create a Twitter list to help focus your coverage. Use the platform to contact experts for comment, a lesson I learned from covering COVID-19.
In March 2020, I created a Twitter list of COVID-19 experts to help me cut through the clutter of voices on social media and shared it with AHCJ members. At that time (and frankly, this continues to be the case), there were many people on Twitter without training in infectious diseases, virology and immunology opining on what was happening. (See Tara Haelle’s post on how important it is to seek out people who specialize in infectious diseases, not just any physician)
Over the past two and a half years, I have added and removed names from the list depending upon the person’s social media presence. Overall, I have found it a helpful lens for understanding what is going on as the pandemic has evolved.
This week, I created another Twitter list for covering monkeypox. There is a crossover of experts between the COVID-19 and monkeypox list, as the world of trusted infectious disease experts who are also helpful on social media isn’t huge. I also may have missed people that should be on the list, so please send a note (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) if I have missed someone.
Social media resources can help keep you on top of coronavirus crisis
The World Health Organization today declared 2019-nCoV a public health emergency of international concern. This is the sixth such designation since 2009; earlier emergencies included the swine flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014 and 2019, polio in 2014 and Zika in 2016.
For ongoing and up-to-date coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak, check out this Twitter list curated by Bara Vaida, AHCJ’s core topic leader on infectious diseases. Continue reading
Tip sheet offers advice on finding real patient voices on Twitter, even on short deadlines
One of our older, incredibly helpful tip sheets at the Medical Studies Core Topic is Liz Szabo’s overview of how to use social media to find real people for articles. In that tip sheet, Szabo lays out a great overarching strategy on setting yourself up to find the sources you need for the topics you typically cover and how to monitor conversations not only for sources but also for story ideas.
That comprehensive approach, however, is aimed more at setting yourself up for a longer story or for a regular beat, and “starting early” is a key aspect of it. What if you’ve just been assigned a story and have less than a week to find patients or other “real people’s voices” — especially if it’s not an area you often cover? Continue reading
Tip sheet helps journalists cover vaccine hesitancy responsibly
Tara Haelle, AHCJ core topic leader on medical studies, contributed to this post.
Journalists have a tricky role when covering a public health issue like vaccine hesitancy and opposition. We have a responsibility to report medical facts, but we also want to tell stories of these facts playing out in real life – and we must avoid appearing as advocates or taking a “stance” on whether parents should vaccinate their children or not.
The medical evidence is clear – vaccines are safe and effective – but a small minority of people refuse, or remain unable, to accept medical evidence. Since that small minority can have a substantial impact on public health more broadly, journalists have to capture the micro and the macro while balancing storytelling with facts. Continue reading