Occupational Practices and the Making of Health News: A National Survey of U.S. Health and Medical Science Journalists

Author Name: 
Viswanath K, Blake KD, Meissner HI, Sainotz NG, Mull C, Freeman CS, Hesse B, Croyle RT.
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Private File Attachment: 
Description: 
News media coverage of health topics can frame and heighten the salience of health related issues, thus influencing the public’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Through their routine coverage of scientific developments, news media are a critical intermediary in translating research for the public, patients, practitioners, and policymakers. To find out more about how health and medical science reporters and editors initiate, prioritize, and develop news stories related to health and medicine, the researchers surveyed 468 reporters and editors representing 463 local and national broadcast and print media outlets. Overall, initial ideas for stories come from a ‘‘news source’’ followed by press conferences or press releases. Therefore, public health practitioners can be instrumental in shaping the health and medical science news that appears in the U.S. media. Regarding newsworthiness criteria, the ‘‘potential for public impact’’ and ‘‘new information or development’’ are the major criteria cited, followed by ‘‘ability to provide a human angle’’ and ‘‘ability to provide a local angle.’’