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International conference on health journalism


Wednesday 14 May 2014

May 14 17.00-20.00
May 15 09.30-17.00 plus book launch and conference dinner
May 16 09.30-15.00

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Richard Crossman Building, Coventry University, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5RW


Keeping health reporting healthy

Health is a massive area for reporters - almost every news outlet, in any medium, covers health in some way. It’s an issue that affects every news audience.

Health services are increasingly under pressure world wide: the NHS is facing huge cuts and sweeping changes, many of them with no political mandate.

Health services and health care are complex and wide-ranging subjects, with plenty of room for error – and careless reporting may have potentially serious consequences. Despite these dangers, journalists are increasingly asked to 'cover health' with no training or support.

Even specialist reporters are asked to do more and more in less time - relying increasingly on press releases and easy sources lined up by PRs, with less time for corroboration: the risk of churnalism.

 PR is a growing area in healthcare - as more private firms bid for lucrative health contracts. Just as public budgets are being cut and pressures on journalists are growing.

 Health PRs have a public duty to act professionally and ethically – failing to do so could soon constitute a criminal offence under the provisions of the Care Bill. Yet health PRs are under pressure to act unethically: by serving NHS staff, not by journalists!

  • Is this 'the perfect storm' for this vital area of journalism?
  • How will this affect the reporting of health?
  • What are the risks for 'another Mid Staffs' (where lives were lost through management obsession over financial targets) being missed?
  • How can 'the beleaguered generalist' and the freelance be best prepared and supported to ask the right questions, and get the right answers?
  • Can PR for health be ethical - and how could you tell?

These are just some of the questions this unique and ground-breaking international conference addresses. Aimed squarely at working journalists as well as media educators, and with a predetermined focus on practical outcomes to help them, the conference has an impressive range of journalists, academics and educators in this field.

This is the second International Conference on Health Journalism to be held at Coventry University, aimed at working journalists, NHS PRs, lecturers in journalism and journalism students.

At the conference a new book/e-book First Do No Harm, the Principles and Practice of Health Journalism (Libri Publishing) will be launched, with many of the authors of its 23 chapters present.

The conference is supported by the NUJ, Medical Journalists Association and the EFJ.

Speakers so far include:

André Picard, Toronto Globe and Mail

Noralou Roos ( University of Manitoba)

David Secko  (Concordia University, Montreal)

Trudy Lieberman, former president, Association of Health Care Journalists

Ivan Oransky, Global editorial director; Vice President of AHCJ

John Fauber, award-winning health reporter Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Alastair McLellan, editor, Health Service Journal

Anna Wagstaff, assistant editor, Cancer World

Roy Lilley, management expert and most influential British blogger on health

Sir Iain Chalmers, James Lind Initiative,

Rinke van den Brink, senior health editor of NOS News, Netherlands

Amelia Beltramini, managing editor @Focus, Italy’s top selling popular science magazine

Shaun Lintern, Health Service Journal, who broke story on Mid Staffordshire Hospitals

Alan Taman,  NUJ Public Relations and Communications Council member, former NHS PR

Mohga Kamal-Yanni, Oxfam Health policy advisor

John Lister, campaigner and author/editor "First do no harm" (forthcoming)

Fees for the 3-day conference have been kept low to encourage working journalists whether staff or freelance, academics teaching journalism, students and others to participate.

Even greater savings can be made by early registration, with EARLY BIRD rates (booking before April 14) £150 for UK staff journalists and educators, £60 for freelances and non-UK journalists, and £30 for students.
Last minute rates £175, £75, £45.

To book a place visit:

Download the conference agenda now.

Contact: Alan Taman,,  07870 757 309

Keep in touch with the campaign via Twitter  @Healthjournos


Before April 14, £150 for UK staff journalists and educators, £60 for freelances and non-UK journalists and £30 for students. Last minute rates £175, £75, £45

Further details and contact information

John Lister
Telephone: 07774264112

Tags: , health journalism, PR, reporting, NHS, specialist writers, students, academics