Coventry University will be the venue for discussions with some of the world’s leading health reporters next week.
The University, which has played a major role in raising awareness of health journalism as a specialist discipline, is hosting an international conference on the subject at its city centre campus from Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 May. The University is also launching a new professional development course tailored specifically for reporters and public relations practitioners covering health topics.
The international conference on health journalism, the second of its kind to be hosted by Coventry University, is entitled First Do No Harm and is supported by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), the European Federation of Journalists and the Medical Journalists’ Association (MJA).
Drawing experts from across the globe, the conference will look at the realities of health reporting – its professional pressures, politics and ethics – and will argue the case that newsrooms should devote greater priority and resource towards the subject. The conference will also cover case studies, highlight best practice and outline proposals for raising professional standards.
Speakers from the UK include: Roy Lilley, leading health blogger and former NHS Trust chief; Coventry University’s Dr John Lister, veteran health campaigner, researcher, and senior lecturer in health journalism; and Shaun Lintern, the health reporter who broke the story of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trusts scandal, which triggered the Franics Inquiry into the NHS.
Conference co-organiser John Lister, who is also leading the University’s health journalism short course, is editing a new guidebook for practitioners which will be launched at the conference. He said: “Health and healthcare are issues that relate to every one of us in a way that few other subjects do. It’s big news but it’s also one of journalism’s most challenging areas. To do it properly, journalists need to understand the system and appreciate the particular complexities surrounding the reporting of health related news stories.
“Our international conference, which is attracting experts in the field, presents an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and experience but it will also have a strong focus on practical solutions to help journalists deliver high quality health stories.”
The University’s continuing professional development (CPD) course – Contemporary Issues in Health Journalism – is designed to familiarise journalists with all aspects of health reporting and to equip them with the background knowledge and skills necessary to write insightful and compelling features. It will be delivered over ten weeks and combines face-to-face sessions with online lectures and seminars.