Tip Sheets

Avian flu: Reporting from the frontlines

Edited excerpts from a lengthy transcript from "The Next Big (Health) Crisis - And How to Cover It," a conference cosponsored by AHCJ at the Nieman Foundation.

In this session, reporters and editors discussed how they have covered disaster situations, including those in which people were infected by the H5N1 virus. They talk about preparations they are making at their news organizations for coverage of pandemic flu.

  • Margie Mason, Asia medical writer based in Hanoi, Vietnam, for The Associated Press. She spoke about covering the unknown one step at a time, evaluating the risks she could face and making decisions on how to cover a story that could potentially put colleagues and family members at risk.
  • Maggie Fox, a health and science editor for Reuters, spoke about covering bird flu on the spot and from half a world away.
  • Christy Feig, senior medical reporter at CNN, talked about the TV reporter’s dilemma: When getting quotes over the phone won’t do. She discusses the need to have a camera at the scene and working with a team of security advisers.