Reporting on science and technology can be particularly tricky, given that most journalists are poorly versed in scientific concepts. Medicine makes particularly good news, as there is always that “human component” that editors demand from their reporters. Unfortunately, misrepresenting the nature of a medical treatment can lead to skewed public perception and PR nightmares. As such, the National Institutes of Health has an open invitation to their “Medicine in the Media” training session:
The course examines the challenges and opportunities inherent in communicating the results of medical research to the public. Stressing an evidence-based approach and re-examining intuitive beliefs about medicine, the course will prepare participants for the crucial task of evaluating research findings, selecting stories that hold meaningful messages for the public, and placing them in the appropriate context.
2006 course topics include: Understanding Randomized Clinical Trials, Common Problems in Observational Studies, The Limited Role of Statistics, Dealing with Editors, and The Proper Role of Anecdotes
We invite application for this year’s course by journalists who produce news stories about health or health care for newspapers, magazines, or newsletters; television or radio; or on-line media. Applicants should be eager to develop skills and knowledge necessary for good medical science reporting, but need not have specific experience or background in medical journalism.
The course will be held June 29 – July 1. Applications will be accepted through May 5, 2006.
For more information, see the NIH…