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State of Healthcare Journalism

Posted by on Apr 5, 2009 in Blog, health, writing | No Comments

In mid-March, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study on the state of healthcare journalism in the U.S.  As a budding journalist with a relatively new interest in the field, my self-recognized lack of years of experience is temepred by a completely unbridled passion and enthusiasm.  So delving into the pages I go, to figure out what can be done differently.  What is it that journalists aren’t doing?

The study says that the greatest issue journalists have is a lack of time.  Study stories replace the issues, as editors push for quick turnarounds.  This prevents journalists from doing in-depth analysis and taking the time to contextualize the story.  And it’s all very easy to sit in a classroom, or typing at a keyboard, and say that journalists should go more in-depth, but as we push for faster news, how do we get this done?

I would imagine magazine writers have more time than newspaper writers.  But for the next ten weeks, I have been given more time than any of that.  In one of my classes this quarter, the whole point is to do in-depth stories, tell the untold — health and science information that people need.  I hadn’t realized what a true gift this course was, until I recognized that it is, in its essence, what the majority of journalists cite as a serious problem in their work environment today.  And then, after the ten weeks, on to the normal journalism schedule.  I may not have time to do these type of stories again, but I’ll have the skills.  Couple with that a smattering of passion, and obsessive dedication with some of us youngsters, and maybe we can make up for in gumption what we don’t have in experience.

My main challenge for this quarter is to convey these stories in not only comprehensible ways, but interesting ways.  I plan on using animations, videos, charts, to make that happen.  And lots of buttons for people to press, I know I’m always more likely to click through something when I do at my rate.

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