ScienceOnline2010 Follow-up: Medical Journalism

The Medical Journalism session at ScienceOnline2010 was held entirely in unconference format and I think it went extremely well. A description of the session can also be found here. We focused on several current issues, including:

  • recent scientific recommendations regarding breast and prostate cancer screening
  • the frequent lack of statistical understanding when it comes to journalists reporting on medical research
  • the difficulty in finding quality medical information on the first few pages of Google search results
  • pharma and FDA regulations surrounding social media engagement

Quite often in medical reporting, anecdote trumps data; participants in the session agreed that the best way to report on research is to tell a story, backed by facts.

Session statistics and conversation:

Below is a transcript of Twitter conversation in chronological order of posting during the ScienceOnline2010 session “Medical Journalism”.

Number of Tweets: 36 (average of 1.1 tweets/2 minutes during the 65 minute session)
Number of unique Tweeters: 17

mindofandre: Discussing the connection between media sensationalism, misinformation and clinical evidence in medical journalism #scio10

Mary_Spiro: Discussing mammagram debate in medical journalism session #scio10

SciTri: Karl Bates on prostate screening: “Turns out there are no computers involved in digital screening. #scio10 #SITT

ivanoransky: “Turns out there’s no digital” in that exam — priceless quote by @klb8s re: prostate cancer in med journalism session #scio10

f1000: app US-originated PR issue but prostate/tsticlr cancer worldwide prob RT mammogram debate in med journalism session #scio10 /via @Mary_Spiro

patriclane: RT @SciTri Karl Bates on prostate screening: “Turns out there are no computers involved in THAT kinda digital screening #scio10

nancyshute: Turns out there’s no computer in that “digital” prostate exam: Best quote of #scio10, from @klb8s at medical journalism session.

jeanniedee: RT @SciTri: Karl Bates on prostate screening: “Turns out there are no computers involved in digital screening. #scio10 #SITT

ivanoransky: I think @nancyshute got @klb8s quote right (& I didn’t): RT@nancyshute: Turns out there’s no computer in “digital” prostate exam #scio10

nancyshute: Instead of calculus in high school, we should teach statistics. @klb8s at #scio10 medical journo session.

thereporat: (agree!) RT @nancyshute: Instead of calculus in high school, we should teach statistics. @klb8s at #scio10 medical journo session.

ivanoransky: I like this but stats R tool of critical thinking, that’s missing RT@nancyshute Instead of calculus in HS teach statistics @klb8s @ #scio10

axiomsofchoice: But w/o calculus…RT @nancyshute: Instead of calculus in high school, we should teach statistics. @klb8s at #scio10 medical journo session.

johnlogsdon: AGREED! But lottery would suffer RT @nancyshute Instead of calculus in high school we should teach statistics. @klb8s #scio10 med jour sess

nancyshute: Q on how to get quality medical information above page 6 in a Google search, from @wjjessen; SEO for scientists and journalists? #scio10

ivanoransky: What good is www.hon.ch (for trustworthy health info) if Google doesn’t take it into account in search algorithm, asks @wjjessen #scio10

nancyshute: Who would be the big losers if we taught statistics in high school? State lotteries, sez @johnlogsdon at #scio10

Mary_Spiro: #scio10 http://www.hon.ch NGO on trustworthy health medical information.

ivanoransky: RT @nancyshute: Who would be the big losers if we taught statistics in high school? State lotteries, sez @johnlogsdon at #scio10

Mary_Spiro: RT @ivanoransky What good is www.hon.ch (for trustworthy health info) if Google doesn’t take it into account in search @wjjessen #scio10

samkrishna: RT @nancyshute: Who would be the big losers if we taught statistics in high school? State lotteries, sez @johnlogsdon at #scio10

younglandis: RT @nancyshute: “Turns out there’s no computer in that “digital” prostate exam” Best quote of #scio10, from @klb8s re @jeffjarvis

mindofandre: Discussing pharma companies and the regulations surrounding social media engagement #scio10

Mary_Spiro: RT @younglandis @nancyshute: “Turns out there’s no computer in that “digital” prostate exam” Best quote of #scio10 @klb8s re @jeffjarvis

nancyshute: PR guy says his pharma clients aren’t in social media because they’re scared of the FDA, Google Sidewiki. #scio10

Mary_Spiro: RT @nancyshute: PR guy says his pharma clients aren’t in social media because they’re scared of the FDA, Google Sidewiki. #scio10

nancyshute: PR guy: I’m tasked by my pharma clients to get a mommy blogger to say something nice about us. #scio10

ivanoransky: Heavily regulated ads RT @nancyshute: APCO rep: pharma clients aren’t in social media bc they’re scared of the FDA, Google Sidewiki #scio10

trickydoc: PR guy: I’m tasked by my pharma clients to get a mommy blogger to say something nice about us. #scio10 /via @nancyshute

nancyshute: Does anecdote trump data? Participants in medical journo session say tell me a story, backed by facts. #scio10

ivanoransky: Med journalism session asks four exes of what happens when your kid isn’t vaccinated. Here’s one from USAToday http://bit.ly/843uKj #scio10

glorialloyd: Just wrote a Sidewiki entry on “Health On the Net Foundation” & its medical honor code certification program – http://bit.ly/5V41uF #scio10

amednews: RT @ivanoransky “Turns out there’s no digital” in that exam — quote by@klb8s re: prostate cancer in med journalism session #scio10

klb8s: Thnx, but not my idea! RT @nancyshute Instead of calculus in high school, we should teach statistics. @klb8s at #scio10

ivanoransky: @amednews Tx for RT-I think @nancyshute got @klb8s quote right & I didn’t: Turns out there’s no computer in “digital” prostate exam #scio10

Walter Jessen is a digital strategist, writer, web developer and data scientist. You can typically find him behind the screen something with an internet connection.