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The EU-funded HeaRT (Health Reporter Training) project 2010-2012 laid an important foundation by investigating the existing (very limited) provision of specialist education and training courses for health journalists throughout the EU and also in the USA, where the existence of a large professional body has influenced the availability of training resources. Their findings indicate a widespread - almost universal - lack of an institutional investment in health journalism.
This is also borne out by the reports from journalists themselves, responding to the snapshot HeaRT survey of health journalists and journalists covering health stories in the six partner countries - Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, the UK and Romania. The lack of academic engagement in the training of journalists in this specialist field also helps to explain the shortage of literature on health journalism.
This book is an effort to take this work further and to draw in experience from North America in order to ensure that the fight for improved quality of health reporting continues to be raised. The chapters are intended to offer more scope for health journalists to develop their understanding of the relevant issues, topics and skills, and test out a variety of potential sources of useful information.
Throughout the book we idenitfy sources and useful contacts and information to enable health journalists to work more effectively and deliver more knowledgeable informative stories for their audience. The contributors welcome feedback and comment:we hope this is the start of a growing self-awareness of many who are working as health reporters and a lively debate on the best ways to deliver quality health journalism.