Reporting on Risks: The Practice and Ethics of Health and Safety Communication

Reporting on Risks: The Practice and Ethics of Health and Safety Communication

Reporting on Risks: The Practice and Ethics of Health and Safety Communication

Reporting on Risks: The Practice and Ethics of Health and Safety Communication

Synopsis

Health and safety risk issues such as AIDS, hazardous waste disposal, airline disasters, and health care policy frequently dominate the news and require a new level of sensitivity and expertise on the part of journalists. This volume focuses on a study of the trends in risk reporting and offers guidelines on how to report the dangers of these risks more accurately. It also examines the ethical implications of reporting risks to the public. This work will be of interest to those studying communication, specifically in the areas of ethics in journalism and public health and medical reporting.

Excerpt

Reporting on Risks is a survey of the field of journalistic reporting that informs the public about the health risks they could be facing in their everyday lives. These risks run the gamut from personal medical problems, to environmental hazards, to public health concerns, to safety issues and dangers wrought by disasters--both natural and man-made. It also looks at the reporting of the growing health care debate in this country and studies how the media might influence public health policy.

In its mission, this is a study designed to do three things for current and future health science reporters: (1) inform them of some of the trends in risk reporting; (2) offer guidelines of how to get closer to the truth of these health dangers; and (3) discuss some of the ethical implications involved in reporting on risks that could--if inaccurately told--either panic the public needlessly or keep it uninformed of threats its should know about.

Risk communication is an important subject area for today's media, because the public is so intent on living healthier lives than ever before. and no other area of reporting so demands that the journalist get the facts straight as risk communication.

Documentation for this book comes from a wide variety of sources, both journalistic and scientific. a few of the more important sources are the following: Dr. George Lundberg, editor of jama (Journal of the American Medical Association); Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D., health care economist from the Wharton School of Business; Stephen G. Bloom, professor of journalism at the University of Iowa and former longtime medical reporter; Victor Cohn, former medical reporter for the Washington Post; Michael Calhoun, director of corporate communication for Baptist Memorial Hospital System in Memphis, Tennessee; Niles Bruzelius, science editor of the Boston Globe . . .

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