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Tip Sheets

Avian flu: Interactions of journalists and sources

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, speakers discussed how what has transpired between journalists and sources during past disasters and crises can illuminate the challenges confronting the press as it seeks reliable information from expert sources. Some of these lessons are shared by those who spent time retracing what happened and thinking about what we should learn from what didn’t work well before.

Speakers on this topic included:

  • Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and contributing editor for The Nation.
  • Patricia Thomas, Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia. She spoke about the anthrax attacks of 2001 and an analysis did of how the news was managed and reported during the time of those attacks.
  • Ford Rowan, former NBC News national security correspondent