Conferences Help Journalists Get Health Stories Straight

Conference to enhance reporting of health and medical news by journalists

The Pennsylvania State University College of Communications, University Park, Pa., sponsored two conferences in 2003 designed to improve reporting of health and medical issues by journalists.

Key Results

  • The first conference, held April 7–8, 2003 at Pennsylvania State University, featured such topical issues as:
    • Reporting on clinical trials.
    • Handling emotionally sensitive material, such as death and dying.
    • New challenges to patient privacy.

    Fifty people attended the "Conference to Improve Media Coverage of Health and Medical Issues." They represented such outlets as the Philadelphia Inquirer, the (New Orleans) Times Picayune, the Washington Post, the (Doylestown, Pa.) Intelligencer and the Erie (Pa.) Times News.
  • The second conference, "Bioterrorism, Deadly Outbreaks and False Alarms: How Can We Prepare for Them?", which took place October 14, 2003 at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., addressed public health issues facing Pennsylvania—including:
    • The state's preparedness to combat bioterrorism and infectious diseases such as West Nile virus encephalitis.

    Eighteen people from 14 Pennsylvania newspapers attended the conference.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $48,845 from August 2002 to January 2004 to support the conferences.

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