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Medical journalism

Level:
Area:
Expert Seminar Series
Code:
ESS27
Duration:
Workshop profile:
Objective:
This session will discuss the skills needed for good medical journalism; present the training opportunities; review the sources of exciting information; indicate different professional paths; ethical aspects of journalism, and much more. Brian Trench will explore what general media audiences expect or want from science and medicine news, how journalists’ criteria for selecting news have evolved and how these apply to medicine in particular. Brian will reflect on journalistic choices and on the implications of those choices, including the ethical dimensions. For further details, read Brian’s abstract. Danny Buckland will host an interactive talk, analysing the mechanics of recognising a story, researching it and producing cogent editorial material. He will examine the necessary components to generate editorial and publishable content, and will share his secrets on how to create a template for building a story. The talk will be well illustrated with practical exercises. For further details, read Danny’s abstract. The session will conclude with Sabine Louët focussing on technology changes that impact the way in which medical writers and journalists operate. Sabine will explore possible tips for future medical journalists, and will also discuss the many ways in which writers in medicine can save time by using tools that are readily available on the Internet. These include automatic transcription of audio to text, news monitoring web sites, news curation web sites, and collaborative working platforms. For further details, read Sabine’s abstract.
Content:
Writing Science for News Media (abstract, Brian Trench) Journalists writing about medicine and science have the same responsibilities to their audiences as journalists in other fields; they have to consider whether the story they want to tell is relevant and meaningful to their readers, listeners and viewers. They also have a wide range of possible ways to tell stories about research, which may or may not make such stories more appealing and interesting.  Writing for general news media requires journalists – including specialist journalists – to keep their publics in mind always. News about medicine of great relevance to professionals in the field may have little appeal or interest for wider audiences. This talk explores what general media audiences expect or want from science and medicine news, and what attention they pay to such stories. It examines how journalists’ criteria for selecting news have evolved and how these apply to medicine and science in particular. It reflects on the mounting challenges of selecting news for fragmenting audiences. There are many types of media story that may be used for reporting or analysing an item of news or issue in medical research. Journalists face hourly and daily choices about the types of story they tell. Research findings may be told as stories of breakthrough, of imminent promise of a cure, of warning about health risks, or in myriad other ways. This talk reflects on the prevalent choices of journalists and on the implications of those choices, including the ethical dimensions. Decoding the Genetics of Journalism (abstract, Danny Buckland) Journalism is experiencing a period of huge change with traditional media challenged by Internet content and society transitioning from print to online consumption. But, despite unprecedented upheaval, the mechanics of recognising a story, researching it and producing cogent editorial material remain constant. This talk examines the components that are needed to generate editorial content that can be published. These building blocks are particularly important in health and medical journalism where there is great public interest that has been catalysed by both scientific advances and rising concerns about how healthcare systems are able to fund caring for an ageing public living with chronic conditions. By understanding the core elements of a ‘story’, a journalist – novice or experienced – can create a template to apply to even the most complex and dense medical material. Millions of people regularly try to diagnose themselves online and the hunger for relevant, accurate health stories is growing. Journalism has to change its mode of delivery but its vital signs can still provide a route to publication. Expect practical exercises. From medical writing to medical journalism: How technology is changing the way medical writers and journalists operate (abstract, Sabine Louët) Any medical writer interested in the world of medical journalism may benefit from the way web technologies can assist professional journalists. The time is ripe as the Internet is making it easier than ever to find suitable sources of information. In this session, we will explore possible tips for future medical journalists, such as: · How do we define medical news? · Typical skills required to become a medical journalist · Information sources (PubMed; ClinicalTrials repositories) · Source selection criteria (which to trust and which to not) · How to choose credible people to interview for third party commentaries Technology is offering solutions that can make the work of medical journalists much more efficient. The session will discuss the many ways in which such professionals can save time using tools that are readily available on the Internet. Among others, we will discuss the following tools: · Automatic transcription of audio to text o Trint (won an Award at the GEN Summit 2016 in Vienna) or Voxalab or Happy Scribe · News monitoring web sites: Ezyinsights, NewsWhip, etc. o Set up RSS feeds to monitor your favourite news sources o Some have free limited access that may be useful o Some negotiate a reasonable fee for freelance writers o Can complement your web site content or coverage · News curation web site (Scoop.it, Paper.li) o Helps gather information and background documentation necessary to draft journalistic pieces · Collaborative working platform, e.g. SciencePOD o People needing resource have direct access to a community of medical writers, editors, and proof-readers with selected expertise across the whole gamut of medical disciplines Freelance medical writers can reduce the time spent on self-marketing. This returns control to writers to select whom they want to work with.