Leading health reporters converge on Coventry for international conference

University news

Tuesday 11 February 2014

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Press Team

Health journalists are being urged to join some of the leading writers in their field for a major industry event at Coventry University later this year.

Top experts and practitioners from Europe, North America and Africa are coming together for the International Conference on Health Journalism, which takes place at the University’s city centre campus from Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 May 2014.

The three day conference, the second to be hosted by Coventry University, is supported by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), the European Federation of Journalists and the Medical Journalists’ Association (MJA). It focuses on the key issues affecting news media reporters who are responsible for covering the often complicated and sometimes emotive subject of health. It will also discuss the work of public relations professionals in the health sector.

In the long-term, organisers hope to develop an ongoing online community that can help raise standards in the profession and also serve as a resource for hard-pressed health journalists who until now have largely had to find their own way round a massive, many-layered and complex global industry.

The conference in Coventry will include keynote talks from leading health reporters and experts in the field including: leading Canadian health journalist André Picard;  Ivan Oransky, Global Editor of medpagetoday.com and former Reuters editor; Health Service Journal editor Alastair McClellan; top health management blogger Roy Lilley; Shaun Lintern, the journalist who broke the Mid Staffordshire Hospitals scandal; and Coventry University’s own John Lister, a veteran campaigner and senior lecturer in health journalism.

Also present will be analysts and educators working to promote and improve health journalism including: Professor Harry Dugmore, Chair of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, South Africa; Noralou Roos and David Secko from the Evidence Network of Canadian Health Policy, a web-based project which links journalists with health care experts; and Sir Iain Chalmers from testingtreatments.org, an interactive website that has been established to promote fair and open testing of new medical treatments.

A new, unique resource to help and advise health journalists, the e-book First Do No Harm, edited by John Lister with contributions from 11 authors, will also be published at the conference.

Conference lead John Lister said:

We are not trying to tell journalists what to say, but helping them to identify what questions they should be asking, and find the sources, resources and background knowledge they need to work faster and develop more balanced, thoughtful stories.

From many different views we are all agreed that what health reporters say really matters and can affect the lives of millions of people – and what they don’t say or don’t ask can also cause real problems.

We also know that in modern newsrooms resources for professional development are scarce - that’s why we have deliberately kept conference fees so low, and even lower for freelancers and those who have to travel to Britain. I’m sure it’s the best bargain health reporters will be offered this year!

More information on the International Conference on Health Journalism taking place at Coventry University in May, including fees and details of how to register along with a range of online resources, sources and links for health reporters, is available at www.europeanhealthjournalism.com.

For further press information, please contact Mark Farnan, communications assistant, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8245 or email mark.farnan@coventry.ac.uk.

For further information about the conference, please contact John Lister on 07774 264112 or email john.lister@coventry.ac.uk.