Tip Sheets

The Next Big (Health) Crisis - And How to Cover It

Transcripts from the conference

Interactions of journalists and sources

A focus on the science

Understanding the risk - What frightens rarely kills

Reacting to the crisis

Press lessons from the 1918 pandemic flu

Preparing for pandemic flu

Reporting from the frontlines

The many dimensions of the avian flu story

Communicating news of an outbreak

Preparing for the crisis

Books about influenza

AHCJ cosponsored a 2006 conference at the Nieman Foundation about news coverage of the next big health crisis, with a focus on the emergence of the next influenza pandemic. The event, presented by the Nieman Foundation, sponsored by the Dart Foundation, and cosponsored by AHCJ and the National Center for Critical Incident Analysis brought journalists together with scientists, public health officials, medical experts, academic researchers, law enforcement officers, public policy experts, and Homeland Security officials to talk about how best to prepare for the possible arrival of pandemic flu. We offer edited excerpts from a lengthy transcript from the event, as printed in the Spring 2007 issue of Nieman Reports. To order a free printed copy of the entire issue, contact Stefanie Friedhoff at the Nieman Foundation.

Speakers included:

  • Harro Albrecht, Medical Editor, Die Zeit in Ger­many and 2007 Nieman Fellow
  • Helen Branswell, Medical Reporter, Canadian Press (CP), Canada's domestic news agency
  • Christy Feig, Senior Medical Reporter, CNN
  • Maggie Fox, Editor, Health and Science, Reuters
  • Sandro Galea, Associate Professor, Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Michigan
  • Betty Kirby, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration and Community Leadership, Central Michigan University
  • Marc Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology, Har­vard School of Public Health
  • Michael Loehr: Preparedness Section Manager, Public Health, Seattle & King County in Wash­ington State
  • Margie Mason, Asia Medical Writer, based in Hanoi, Vietnam, The Associated Press
  • Maryn McKenna, Former Senior Medical Reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, now a Kaiser Media Fellow and freelance journalist
  • Glen Nowak, Chief of Media Relations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a member of the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity
  • John Pope, Medical Writer, The Times Picayune, New Orleans
  • Steven Prior, Executive Director National Center for Critical Incident Analysis
  • Dori Reissman, Commander, United States Public Health Service, and Senior Medical Advisor, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Ford Rowan: Former NBC News National Security Correspondent
  • Peter Sandman: Risk Communicator, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and contributing editor, The Nation
  • Alan Sipress, Staff Writer, The Washington Post, formerly based in the Jakarta bureau of the Post
  • Patricia Thomas, Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism, Grady College of Journal­ism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia
  • Dick Thompson, Team Leader, WHO Pandemic and Outbreak Communication
  • John Thompson, Deputy Executive Director, National Sheriffs Association
  • Stan Tiner, Editor, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Mis­sissippi
  • Brian Toolan, National Editor of The Associated Press
  • Lu Yi, Senior Reporter, Sanlian Life Weekly, now a Knight Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology