Finding and jurging health stories


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Finding and jurging health stories

  1. 1. Finding and judging health and science stories
  2. 2. Plan of the lesson <ul><li>Finding science stories </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting a scientist . Interview with a scientist </li></ul><ul><li>Covering press conference </li></ul><ul><li>Use Internet to search for scientific information </li></ul><ul><li>“ Good science ” or “bad science” </li></ul><ul><li>Perils to avoid </li></ul>
  3. 3. Finding science stories <ul><li>As a science journalist, you are faced with two options: wait for stories to come to you, or go out and find some. If you wait for stories to come to you, perhaps via press releases, you may have a good selection to choose from, but it is also likely that the rest of the media pack will have the same story. Going out to find your own stories requires more work, but ultimately can be more satisfying if it means you can find something more unusual – an exclusive. In our country this is practically the only way to find out what research is going on in Ukraine. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>How did you find your 10 sources of scientific information while doing your home task? </li></ul><ul><li>Was is difficult? </li></ul>Discussion questions
  5. 5. What are good sources? <ul><li>Primary sources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-scientists: politicians, neighbours, other journalists, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One-to-one interviews with scientists or other scientific experts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Press conferences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Secondary sources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Other media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Press releases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Electronic bulletins </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Websites of scientific organisations or companies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publications e.g. primary research papers </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Other variants (1) <ul><li>Ideas from everyday life (nutrition for children) </li></ul><ul><li>News stories in other media </li></ul><ul><li>A crisis or controversy covered by political or social affairs reporters (vaccination) </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting at the boundaries of science ( science-based medicine vs . traditional medicine ) </li></ul><ul><li>Developing a local angle of an international story </li></ul><ul><li>Watch out for dates in the future </li></ul>
  7. 7. Other variants (2) <ul><li>Journals.  Means contacting foreign scientists.  Or Ukrainian scientists in the same field. </li></ul><ul><li>Government Agencies and NGOs (Ukrainian and foreign) working on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>??? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Other variants (3) <ul><li>Science angles on other stories </li></ul><ul><li>Polling - science behind it </li></ul><ul><li>Earthquake disaster:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Food poisoning episode </li></ul><ul><li>Energy - IMF requirement that Ukraine charge more for gas </li></ul><ul><li>Vaccines  </li></ul>
  9. 9. Interview with a scientist <ul><li>Tell about your experience of interviewing people. </li></ul><ul><li>Why do journalists contact scientists? </li></ul><ul><li>How to find a scientist for interview? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Interview with a scientist: Checklist <ul><li>Get ready for the pre-interview </li></ul><ul><li>Persuade scientists to speak to you </li></ul><ul><li>Consider your interview type </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a profile interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a research interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a content or news interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an oppositional interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an oppositional interview (where you ask the questions other organizations have expressed) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Preparing for the interview <ul><li>Decide how much emotional distance will be needed between you and the subject of the interview: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>an exposé </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a corporate, government or institutional announcement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a silly interview </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12.
  13. 13. Problems with scientists <ul><li>Jargon and technical language </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of interest in communicating with public </li></ul><ul><li>Distrust of journalists </li></ul><ul><li>Professional biases </li></ul>
  14. 14. Overcoming those problems <ul><li>Learn the language, but don't use it. </li></ul><ul><li>Force them to speak clearly </li></ul><ul><li>Find another scientist </li></ul><ul><li>Earn trust </li></ul><ul><li>Don't be captive to a single source </li></ul>
  15. 15. Using the Internet to search for scientific information <ul><li>Online literature databases: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PubMed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Science Direct </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Sciences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soc INDEX </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Specialized search engines: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Covering a conference <ul><li>Conference allows to put science stories onto the news pages. </li></ul><ul><li>It is necessary to prepare before going to the conference. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask controversial questions. </li></ul><ul><li>If scientists are speaking publicly to an audience, journalists have the right to report their words. </li></ul>
  17. 17. “ Good science” or “bad science”
  18. 18. How to check? <ul><li>Is the scientist recommended by a trusted source? </li></ul><ul><li>Who does the scientist work for? </li></ul><ul><li>How is the study funded? </li></ul><ul><li>What has the scientist published previously? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the scientist likely to profit from the sale of any products relating to the work? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the scientist's claim published in a peer-reviewed journal? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Evaluating what scientists tell you, or what you see in press releases <ul><li>Ask:  How do you know this?  Show me the evidence. How strong is it? </li></ul><ul><li>Has this been published? (Where?) </li></ul><ul><li>What's new about this?     </li></ul><ul><li>Who disagrees?  Why?  Can this scientist explain the different points of view? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Thank you for attention ! [email_address] [email_address]