This is just a periodic reminder to our readers: yes, we are aware of the difficult economic times many are facing in the news industry.
Sometimes journalists will write to us, defensively, saying things like: “I hope I’m still around by the end of year for you to criticize!”
Our message about the need for improvements in health care journalism is often not directed solely or even primarily at the worker bees reporting and writing and producing the stories. We know what they’re up against. Our message is often directed at their management.
I often make this comparison:
Just because automakers have had some tough economic times doesn’t mean that consumers should be satisfied if the rear axle falls off as they drive away from the dealership showroom.
Just because the news industry has faced tough times (after many boom years) doesn’t mean that news consumers should be satisfied with incomplete, imbalanced stories. Especially with health care news. Our consistent message is that if managment can’t devote adequate staffing, resources and training to those covering health care news, they should consider not covering health care news. Because this is one area – of all topical areas – where people can be harmed by suboptimal reporting.
If journalists need us to help them convey that message to management, we’re available to help.
Addendum: American Health Line’s Blog also comments on the “trend … that newspapers over the previous few years have begun dedicating fewer and fewer reporters to health policy coverage” and went on to address what was described as “an alarming imbalance in health policy news” in just the past week.