Health Care Journalism

Health Care Journalism

The public is turning to TV more and more for health information, creating a surge of news and entertainment shows on the subject. Health care journalists are fighting to tell the story in a time of scarce resources...

  • Rushing to the Scene: Health Care Journalism For attendees flocking to the March 27 opening of the annual convention of the Association of Health Care Journalists in Washington, D.C., it’s a good time to reflect on the hot-button topics of the past year. ...On page 13
  • Rather’s Still Making News at HDNET On March 29 the Association of Health Care Journalists will present awards for the best health reporting of 2007. Among the winners in the television category is legendary newsman Dan Rather, who since leaving the CBS News anchor chair in 2005 has resumed his bulldog investigative reporting as managing editor and host of HDNet’s newsmagazine “Dan Rather Reports.”...On page 14
  • Getting to the Nitty-Gritty on Plans Health care policy is one of the hottest issues in the primary race between Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But, although they spar about their divergent plans, neither of them has spelled out the details. ...On Page 14
  • Politics Meets Health in D.C. While the candidates for the presidency criss-cross the nation talking about the American health care system and how they plan to deal with it if elected, the health care broadcasters, journalists, reporters and media members will gather in Washington March 27-30 for their 10th annual conference. ...On Page 16
  • Taking Stock of 10 Years of AHCJ Writers, reporters and other media members of the Association of Health Care Journalists will gather for their annual conference in Washington starting March 27, marking the 10th anniversary of the organization’s creation. ...On Page 16
  • Broadcaster Takes Cancer Personally The issue of health care journalism is important to Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of “CBS Evening News.” More than almost any other high-profile television news professional, she has taken the lead in medical news coverage. ...On Page 18
  • Diagnoses of the Rich and Famous Whether it is the recent revelation that actor Patrick Swayze is battling pancreatic cancer, the bipolar diagnosis of singer Britney Spears or the sudden deaths of Heath Ledger and Kanye West’s mother, Donda, celebrity- related medical stories focus intensely...On Page 18
  • Working Sunday Morning ‘Miracles’ Coach Kay Yow, North Carolina State’s women’s basketball coach, is an oft-cited inspiration in the cancer community for her unflagging, unflinching fight against metastasized breast cancer. Her humor and strength are on full display in an episode of the 30-minute program “Sharing Miracles,” which airs Sunday mornings in 25 markets reaching 15 million homes (as of April). ...On Page 20
  • A Banner Year for Recalls Fifteen thousand pounds of sausage contaminated with Listeria, 21,000 packages of trail mix containing glass fragments, 326 million pounds of salmonella-infected peanut butter, 376,000 bottles of mineral water with arsenic. ...On Page 22
  • Applauding the Best of TV Health Reports The Association of Health Care Journalists presents its awards at this week’s conference in Washington, honoring the best health reporting of 2007 in 10 categories covering print, broadcast and online media. The top TV winners are a diverse group covering a broad range of the health care universe. ...On Page 30
  • CNN Touches Hearts with 'Molly' The first-place award in the TV and radio category for top 20 markets, network or syndicated programming at Health Journalism 2008 will be accepted by senior producer Jennifer Pifer, representing CNN and reporter Elizabeth Cohen. But the real winners are the people who have been reunited with mentally retarded and developmentally disabled family members who had been shut away years ago in institutions and seemingly lost forever. ...On Page 30
  • Unusual Kid, Difficult Choice As a general assignment reporter for KARE-TV, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis, Joe Fryer does all kinds of pieces about all kinds of people. “I’m a GA—general assignment, features, political, whatever needs to be done. I cover everything,” said Mr. Fryer. As part of that everything, one story Mr. Fryer got to tell was “Nick’s Choice.” ...On Page 32
  • AHCJ Awards: 2007 Winners Awards will be presented at a luncheon March 29 at Health Journalism 2008. On Page 32
  • On the Trail of Deadly Drugs Sometimes it takes a yearlong investigation, including setting up hidden cameras halfway around the world, to expose a health threat that most people didn’t know existed. ...On Page 38
  • The 'Sicko' Effect Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has been called everything from a seer to a charlatan. Is he a committed truth-teller and professional muckraker, or is he a shameless self-promoter who uses important issues for personal advancement? ...On Page 39
  • Recovering from Crisis Mentality Like so much other news coverage, the intersection of environmental and health/medical journalism often takes place at a crisis point, such as an oil spill or a leak of radiation from a nuclear plant, or in relation to a high-profile event. ...On Page 40
  • Doctor On Call for NBC News As NBC News’ chief medical editor, surgeon Dr. Nancy Snyderman is literally on call for whatever medical or health issues need to be discussed on the air. ...On Page 41
  • Capturing the Reality of TV's Doctors About 20 years ago a popular cough medicine commercial that ran on television featured the line, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” ....On Page 42
  • Connected to the Community Bruce Hensel, M.D., is one of the rarest hyphenates in broadcast journalism—a practicing physician who is also a full-time medical correspondent for a major-market television station. ...On Page 43
  • ‘Healthline’ Helps Baby Boomers Take Control of Care In the digital age, many people turn to the Internet for health care advice. That’s useful, and many seniors do use PCs to gather information. But even more, they look to television for medical counsel and to augment doctor visits. That’s what Retirement Living Television’s program “Healthline” is all about. ...On Page 44
  • The World at Our Fingertips With the click of a mouse, consumers can find all kinds of information about health and medical issues ranging from treatments for diabetes, heart disease and cancer to fitness, bioethics and sexuality. ...On Page 44
  • Medicine Gets Personal Dr. Mehmet Oz is not a wizard, but to many television viewers, his no-nonsense, clear answers to important medical questions make him more valuable than a wizard. That’s how he has earned the label “America’s Doctor,” a title that has actually been trademarked. ...On Page 45
  • 'The Doctors': Responsibility to Inform Terry Wood, president of creative affairs and development for CBS Television Distribution, says the company’s new medical talk show is “not so much journalism as personal information in an entertaining format.” ...On Page 46
  • In Search of Ethical Guidelines The spotlight on ethics in the TV newsroom has never been brighter. ...On Page 47
  • Questioning Authority Everybody does it. Whether they’re selling baby food or Botox, vaccines or vacation spots, it’s common practice for newsrooms and marketers to get in bed together. In fact, they’ve already been in bed together for several years. It saves time for news editors and makes life easier for everyone involved. ...On Page 47
  • America’s Disease: Obesity It’s an enormous story, pardon the pun, that has made huge headlines in recent years. The number of Americans considered obese has more than doubled in the past 30 years, from 15% of the population to nearly 33% by some estimates, reaching epidemic proportions. In 1985, not a single state in the U.S. had an obesity rate of more than 14% of its population. By 2006, not a single state had a rate of less than 20%. ...On Page 48
  • Confidentiality Confrontations Eastern Maine Medical Center this fall began asking reporters coming to the hospital to sign a patient confidentiality statement. The agreement bars journalists from disclosing information they discover at the facility that the hospital deems “not related to the story.” ...On Page 50
  • Potter: Stick to the Point What are the tools and techniques that news professionals need when they approach tackling the daunting, dynamic subject of health care? ...On Page 48