Global Health from a Journalist's Perspective: Giving the Public What It Needs and Wants

Friday, 14 February 2014
Columbus IJ (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Jennifer Yang , Toronto Star, Toronto, BC, Canada
Global health needs are expanding. Medicine is becoming increasingly complex. Science literacy is coming under fire and vaccine hesitancy is on the rise. Meanwhile, newsrooms around the world are shrinking their budgets, shuttering foreign bureaus and increasingly focusing on local news while relying on wire services for international coverage. Against this backdrop, Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, the Toronto Star, decided to launch its first global health beat in October 2012. This presentation will discuss the experience of building a global health beat for a major North American daily and some of the larger challenges currently faced by global health journalists. It will discuss how reporters and editors make decisions about coverage and the challenge of delivering science stories that both educate and appeal to a mass audience. Finally, it will cover ways in which scientists can better engage with both the media and the public to better communicate about global health.