Getting Journalists Up to Speed on Health and Health Care Issues

Improving the Quality, Accuracy and Relevance of Coverage Using Online Professional Development Tools for Journalists

Field of Work: Improving health care journalism

Problem Synopsis: Public demand for information about health and health care is increasing, but many journalists do not have the training to understand and accurately report these stories. Without adequate background, they are less likely to explain complex health issues to the public effectively.

Synopsis of the Work: The Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, an affiliate of the Association of Health Care Journalists, designed, developed and maintained a new website, www.healthjournalism.org, to provide more extensive resources to the association’s 1,100-plus membership. Some resources are also available to the general public.

Key Results: The new website averaged 14,000 visits a month, as of July 2011. Resources available to association members include “Slim Guides” to help reporters understand medical research and report on such topics as nursing homes and obesity. Articles and tip sheets, audio presentations from conferences, special event coverage and other resources also are available.

Association resources available to the public include a weekly electronic newsletter, with 2,000 subscribers, a blog and social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

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