Category Archives: Journalists

Nov 20 2013

In the Media: MTV Responds to Outcry over ‘Scrubbing In’

This is part of the November 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

MTV executives are attempting to mollify nurses and nursing allies who are outraged over a salacious new “reality” television show about a group of young travel nurses in California.

The show, “Scrubbing In” amplifies tawdry aspects of the personal lives of a handful of young nurses and minimizes the important, life-saving work they do, critics say.

The show disrespects “the most respected profession,” said Karen Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association.

MTV officials responded with a recent announcement that they would take a number of steps to address the outrage, according to The Truth About Nursing, an advocacy organization that works to improve media portrayals of nurses.

Actions include re-editing some episodes to put a greater emphasis on clinical nursing skills; posting online material to educate visitors about the real reality of nursing education and practice; and airing the show at a less prominent time, potentially slashing viewership.

After the show began airing in October, some nursing organizations called for its cancellation, while others called for a more far-reaching boycott of the channel and its sponsors.

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Aug 8 2013

Advocates' Role in Helping Media Tell the Story of the Affordable Care Act

Jacquie Anderson is chief operating officer of Community Catalyst and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Consumer Voices for Coverage.


Last week, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) hosted a great workshop at its annual convention in Orlando on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the underserved. The RWJF-sponsored discussion entitled "The Real Deal: ACA and the Underserved" was a candid conversation about what members of the media need from the advocacy community to 'get the ACA story right.' 

Clearly, the media and communications professionals are hungry for information on the ACA and how it will affect consumers.  They find it challenging to keep up to speed on all the details and report it in an accurate, fair manner.

It is also clear our role and responsibility as advocates is to get them the information they need in a timely fashion. We shouldn't assume that the media are only interested in sensational stories: They want to know how the law is affecting people’s lives in the communities they live in.

They need to hear that getting people enrolled is a door-to-door, grassroots retail campaign, and we need them to understand these key takeaways:

  1. Consumers are hungry for factual information about how the ACA will affect their lives
  2. Advocates and community-based organizations along with others (including the media) have a key role to play in providing that information
  3. Given the size of the opportunity, as millions of people enroll in health insurance for the first time, there will be bumps along the road. But getting people access to health care is worth the journey
  4. The role of the media in providing factual information will be critical over the next few months

So advocates should reach out to media in their states and offer to get them up to speed on the ACA and to connect them to consumers who have compelling stories to tell. Make yourself indispensable!

Learn more about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation event at the NABJ convention here and here.

Jul 10 2013

In the Media: New Anthology Shines Light on Nursing

This is part of the July 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

Nurses comprise the largest group of health care professionals, yet they are often relegated to background roles in popular entertainment, during policy debates, and at decision-making tables at hospitals and health care agencies.

A powerful new book about nursing is helping to bring the profession to the fore.

Edited by Lee Gutkind, a writer, editor, and professor, I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse is an anthology of essays written by nurse-authors. A New York Times reviewer called it “beautifully wrought.” The reviewer says the book serves as a reminder that nurses are the “indispensable and anchoring element of our health care system.”

Indeed, Gutkind points out in the introduction that there are some 3 million nurses in the United States—more than half of 1 percent of the population. In the book, 21 of them share riveting stories about their diverse and often difficult experiences in a variety of settings, from an emergency room to a community clinic to a maternity ward to unexpected places like an impoverished home in rural China.

Despite their diverse experiences, these nurses share one thing in common: a close proximity to death that puts their lives—and all life—in sharp relief.

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Jun 21 2012

Do Gender Stereotypes Persist for Physicians?

Last week, on the New York Times Well Blog, New York University School of Medicine professor Danielle Ofri, MD, wrote about the "perception bias" that doctors are male. These presumptions persist, she writes, even though they lag far behind reality at this time when about half of students in medical schools are female.

Ofri recounts a letter she received from a college professor explaining that after reading one of her essays, more than half of his students assumed she was a man, despite her name. She writes:

Part of me finds this entirely ridiculous and impossible to believe in this day and age — except that I’ve fallen into the same trap. One of my patients recently saw a pulmonologist at another hospital. “Would you call Dr. Marcus about my X-ray results?” the patient asked.

“Sure,” I replied. “I’ll give him a call this afternoon.”

“She,” my patient gently chided.

Perhaps change simply takes longer than we expect. My own children were born almost two decades after those college freshmen were born. We’ve had three pediatricians over the years, and all were women. In their day care center — associated with the hospital — almost every child’s mother was a doctor.

One day, my daughter came home reporting an amazing discovery. “Jacob’s father is a doctor too,” she exclaimed. “Just like Jacob’s mother!” In her world, it simply had never dawned on her that “doctor” could equal “man.” If that 1979 preschooler study [where young children “knew” that doctors were men and nurses were female] were repeated on her generation, I suspect the results would be different.

In the end, though, I wonder how important it really is. After all, we have multitudes of preconceptions about doctors, writers — all people, in fact — and sex is only one of them.

What do you think? Is there still an assumption that physicians are men, or is it changing? Does it matter? What, if anything, should we be doing to change gender stereotypes in medicine? Register below to leave a comment.

Read the New York Times blog post.

Aug 11 2011

Ozioma - That's Good News - From the NABJ Convention in Philadelphia

By Linda Wright Moore

RWJF Senior Communications Officer

Attending the 36th annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) last week in Philadelphia provided an opportunity to reflect on the many challenges facing reporters and the news industry in the 21st century. It was also a personal trip down my professional memory lane.

At the start of my career, as a television reporter and anchor, I attended my first NABJ annual meeting in New Orleans in 1983. The organization was small back then – just a few hundred members. We all knew each other by name. Fast forward to 2011, and I was happy to connect with old friends, including founders of the organization.

The group has grown dramatically to 3,000 members, and more than 2,500 people attended the Philadelphia gathering. The profession of journalism and newsgathering has also been transformed in response to tectonic shifts in the way we gather and disseminate information. Consider: “publisher” used to define an institution that had capacity to print a book, newspaper or magazine. Now, it’s anyone with a laptop, an Internet connection and something to say.

But don’t be fooled. The explosive growth of information and ease of access to it do not mean that journalism is a dying craft. In this 21st century age of information overload – where opinion, conjecture and even fiction can masquerade as fact – the ability to find credible, engaging, reliable sources of news and information is more valuable than ever. A free press is still the cornerstone of democracy – enabling us to make informed decisions about political leaders and policies. And we also rely on media to keep us informed about issues and policies affecting every aspect of our lives, including our health and health care.

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) booth at the NABJ Career Fair & Exhibition, we provided an array of information about Foundation programs – touching on the work of every team: Childhood Obesity, Coverage, Pioneer, Public Health, Quality/Equality, Vulnerable Populations and Human Capital. We distributed the first edition of the Human Capital Expert Resource Guide, which highlights the work and expertise of selected RWJF scholars, fellows and leaders with a focus on issues of concern to Black and Latino communities. We hope it will be a useful source of experts to interview for reporters developing stories around health and health care issues. Take a look and let us know how we can make future editions more useful for journalists and other researchers.

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