McHealth News Stories: What makes a good science story?

Original broadcast date: March 1, 2009

What constitutes a good science story? That depends on what side of the fence you sit on. If you are in the news business, fear and sensationalism are all too commonly used to grab your audience’s attention. If you are a company extolling the virtues of a new treatment, you play up risk reduction with, at times, meaningless statistics. The number of players with their own agendas and own spin makes it difficult to weed out the extraneous bits of information and provide a true account of the message written in plain English. How well does the mainstream media sift through this information and present it in a factual and accurate manner?

  • André Picard is the public health reporter at The Globe and Mail, where he has been a staff writer since 1987. He has received the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism, the Canadian Policy Research Award, the Atkinson Fellowship for Public Policy Research and the Award for Excellence in Women’s Health Reporting. In 2002, he received the Centennial Prize of the Pan-American Health Organization as the top public health reporter in the Americas.

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