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USA Today's powerful story on missed vaccines weakening "herd immunity"

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Liz Szabo reports that experts worry that recent outbreaks of Hib, or Haemophilus influenzae type b, mumps and measles “represent cracks in the country’s protection against terrifying childhood diseases that were once virtually eradicated.”

She reports:

A study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that unvaccinated children are nine times as likely as others to contract chickenpox — which killed 100 children and hospitalized 10,000 a year before a vaccine became available in 1995. The same authors found that unvaccinated kids are 23 times as likely to develop whooping cough.

And the story includes this chart from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Screen shot 2010-01-06 at 8.17.41 AM.png

There are strong multimedia elements – photos and video – as well.

One suggestion – for USA Today or any newspaper expanding its video efforts. Think twice about using the maudlin music on your videos. It’s as if you feel you need to tell readers/viewers how to feel. On this topic, with an already powerful and clear message, you don’t need to add the music. It’s formulaic, an approach borrowed from TV news, and
I hope websites don’t adopt it.

Regina McCombs of the Poynter Institute has compiled several news organizations’ policies on the use of music in video in a column, “Music in Multimedia: Add Sparingly, Not as a Crutch.”

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Comments (2)

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Rose Hoban

January 6, 2010 at 11:09 am

Gary, I completely agree with you on the music. I watched the piece and thought… this is really powerful on it’s own. The music pushes it over the top.
In related thoughts: Reading your post on ABC and Jenny McCarthy made me want to scream. But I found it heartening to find the CDC’s Lumen and Zhao find (in Feb A J Preventative Medicine) vaccination rates trending up over the last decade. Could it be that people are more sensible than journalists and talk show hosts when it comes to listening to stars over their docs?