Post reporter discusses media and medicine
want more medical information and the mass media is more than
happy to oblige. The problem is, medical information changes often
and can be confusing to sort through. In light of this, the medical
reporter can be a doctor's best friend. How can doctors foster
such a friendship?
Squires, health reporter for the Washington Post shared her advice
during the School of Medicine's March 7 Medical
Center Hour talk on "Medicine and the Media."
to an auditorium filled with doctors, medical students and the
general public, Squires' basic points were:
of an issue, promisnence of people associated with the issue,
conflicts and bizarre circumstances all constitute news stories.
When reporters call, the recipients should find out with whom
they are speaking and consider everything they say to be "on
While being interviewed, doctors should try to reduce the amount
of jargon they use.
An interview with a reporter never guarantees inclusion in a story.
Build relationships with members of the press and a hospital's
media relations office.
is it that medical breakthroughs are bolstered in the news that
may not have had strong research?" asked a medical student
in the audience. "It gives people false hope."
replied that she and at least some other reporters refrain from
using the term "breakthrough" when it comes to new research.
Many reporters in the media understand that medicine and research
are not black and white, but they are shades of gray, she said.
her lecture, when Squires asked for feedback from the audience,
many, by a show of hands, said they would still be hesitant to
speak to the media.