by Michelle Guillemard
If you report on medical breakthroughs and you need to cover them urgently, how can you move fast yet still ensure quality?
Do you have time to conduct a thorough literature search of the body of evidence to assess whether these breakthroughs are legitimate or merely spin?
In today’s 24 hour news cycle, you need to move fast. As we saw with last year’s fish oil and prostate cancer coverage.
So if you need to report on a groundbreaking piece of research in a hurry, visit Testing Treatments interactive.
Testing Treatments have compiled a useful quick guide to help journalists and science writers assess medical breakthroughs – or more specifically, to consider whether claims about medical breakthroughs are accurate.
The guide is designed for writers who need to fact-check their health and medical research articles under pressure.
Using the guide to assess medical breakthroughs
The resources answer 4 key questions that health journalists need to know:
- How can I get fact-checks of health news?
- Where can I find trustworthy information?
- How can I check stories myself?
- Some real life examples
The authors make the point that journalists are key persons of influence when it comes to the public’s understanding of health and medical breakthroughs.
As I highlighted in a recent post, “This is what happens when business writers report on medical news”, health reporters don’t always take the time to check facts when they’re reporting on medical news – particularly when it has been distributed via press release. And, let’s not forget the aforementioned pressure of the 24 hour/breaking news cycle.
The resources in this handy guide provide a formal critical appraisal of new medical research, and they also explain how to learn the “pitfalls of medical research”.
It’s a good idea to browse these resources when you aren’t under pressure, as well as when you are.
Why health journalists need a guide like this
The instantaneous nature of online publishing puts increasing pressure on health writers to get the latest medical research written and published asap. In this environment, it’s easy to gloss over issues like conflicts of interests, contextual evidence, the readers’ needs and perspective.
We all know what we’re supposed to do as professional journalists – but sometimes even the best intentions fail unintentionally.
Check out the guide now
If you think a guide like this would help you to assess and report on medical breakthroughs and groundbreaking health research, check it out now: Fair tests of treatments: a quick guide for journalists >>