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Showcasing some of the best health and medical writing in The New York Times, Tom Linden combines his expertise as both a physician and a writer to explore the range and depth of reporting and writing in this fascinating area. With more than 50 articles, the book includes coverage of topics ranging from amnesia to genomics to a Times investigation of a major pharmaceutical company.
Organized around news, features and commentary, Linden’s observations elucidate the challenges these reporters face in tackling everything from nutrition to neuroscience, while his how-to guidance takes aspiring medical and health reporters to the next level. Readers will appreciate condensed interviews from five prominent Times medical and health reporters interspersed throughout the book, as well as how-to tips on 15 genres of health reporting, including blogs, essays, and alternative story forms. Linden directs the Medical and Science Journalism Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a former CNBC and Los Angeles Times reporter.
MORE ABOUT TimesCollege . . . a series from CQ Press
Whether it is the arts or science, medicine or business, you’ll find stories that inspire while providing readers an insider’s look into the rewards, challenges and everyday routines of beat reporting. The carefully selected pieces in each Reader cover the spectrum from news to features to analysis to blogs and other online innovations. Each volume also features these elements:
- Conversations with Times writers take readers behind the scenes to learn about their goals for the beat and how they got their jobs, as well as practical nuts-and-bolts information on how they report and write for a global audience in the multimedia age.
- Story Scan disassembles stories into their component parts, labeling and analyzing the elements that make good beat stories work.
- Making Connections questions and assignments sharpen thinking and prepare students to go out on the beat to start finding their own great stories.
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Table of Contents
Foreword by Barbara Strauch
1 PART I—NEWS STORIES
Chapter 1 Breaking News
1.1 Peanut Products Sent Out Before Tests, Gardiner Harris
1.2 World Health Organization Raises Swine Flu Alert Level, Denise Grady
1.3 Patients Warned as Maker Halts Sale of Heart Implant Part, Barnaby J. Feder
1.4 Removing Medtronic Heart Cables Is Hard Choice, Barry Meier
1.5 Reversing Trend, Big Drop Is Seen in Breast Cancer, Gina Kolata
Chapter 2 News Analyses
2.1 NEWS ANALYSIS—Obama Push to Cut Health Costs Faces Tough Odds, Robert Pear
2.2 NEWS ANALYSIS—Rethink Stem Cells? Science Already Has, Nicholas Wade
2.3 NEWS ANALYSIS—When Blind Faith in a Medical Fix Is Broken, Denise Grady
2.4 NEWS ANALYSIS—Maybe You’re Not What You Eat, Gina Kolata
Chapter 3 News Briefs
3.1 VITAL SIGNS—Symptoms: Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda, Nicholas Bakalar
3.2 The Mysterious Cough, Caught on Film, Denise Grady
Chapter 4 Investigative Stories
4.1 Psychiatrists, Children and Drug Industry’s Role, Gardiner Harris, Benedict Carey and Janet Roberts
4.2 Women Sue Over Device to Stop Urine Leaks, Roni Caryn Rabin
4.3 A Medical Mystery Unfolds at Minnesota Meatpacking Plant, Denise Grady
4.4 Drug Files Show Maker Promoted Unapproved Use, Alex Berenson
4.5 Doubts Are Raised on the Safety of 2 Popular Arthritis Drugs, Melody Petersen
4.6 DANGEROUS DATA—Despite Warnings, Drug Giant Took Long Path to Vioxx Recall, The New York Times
A Conversation with . . . Gardiner Harris
Chapter 5 Obituaries
5.1 Donald F. Gleason, 88, Dies; Devised Prostate Test, Lawrence K. Altman
5.2 H. M., an Unforgettable Amnesiac, Dies at 82, Benedict Carey
A Conversation with . . . Benedict Carey (Part 1)
PART II—FEATURE STORIES
Chapter 6 Profiles
6.1 Mute 19 Years, He Helps Reveal Brain’s Mysteries, Benedict Carey
6.2 THE DOCTOR’S WORLD—The Man on the Table Devised the Surgery, Lawrence K. Altman
Chapter 7 Explanatory Stories
7.1 A Long Search for a Universal Flu Vaccine, Andrew Pollack
7.2 10 Genes, Furiously Evolving, Carl Zimmer
7.3 Birth of Octuplets Puts Focus on Fertility Clinics, Stephanie Saul
StoryScan 7.4 Blind, Yet Seeing: The Brain’s Subconscious Visual Sense, Benedict Carey
7.5 The Science of Sarcasm (Not That You Care), Dan Hurley
7.6 This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It), Benedict Carey
7.7 One for the Ages: A Prescription That May Extend Life, Michael Mason
7.8 REALLY?—The Claim: Hot Liquids Can Ease Symptoms of a Cold or Flu, Anahad O’Connor
7.9 REALLY?—The Claim: Chocolate Can Be Disruptive to Sleep, Anahad O’Connor
A Conversation with . . . Benedict Carey (Part 2)
Chapter 8 Perspective Stories
8.1 FORTY YEARS’ WAR—Advances Elusive in the Drive to Cure Cancer, Gina Kolata
8.2 WELL—The Myth of Rampant Teenage Promiscuity, Tara Parker-Pope
8.3 Drug Making’s Move Abroad Stirs Concerns, Gardiner Harris
8.4 SECOND OPINION—From a Prominent Death, Some Painful Truths, Denise Grady
8.5 THE DOCTOR’S WORLD—For Science’s Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap, Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.
8.6 On Autism’s Cause, It’s Parents vs. Research, Gardiner Harris and Anahad O’Connor
Chapter 9 Historical Stories
9.1 THE DOCTOR’S WORLD—Radiology Was Young, and So Was I, Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.
9.2 THE DOCTOR’S WORLD—Socratic Dialogue Gives Way to PowerPoint, Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.
A Conversation with . . . Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.
Chapter 10 Series Features
10.1 SIX KILLERS | STROKE—Lost Chances for Survival, Before and After Stroke, Gina Kolata
10.2 DEATH IN BIRTH—Where Life’s Start Is a Deadly Risk, Denise Grady
A Conversation with . . . Gina Kolata
Chapter 11 Narratives
11.1 THE DNA AGE—Cancer Free at 33, but Weighing a Mastectomy, Amy Harmon
11.2 TROUBLED CHILDREN—Living With Love, Chaos and Haley, Pam Belluck
Chapter 12 Columns
12.1 OP-ED COLUMNIST—Crisis in the Operating Room, Nicholas D. Kristof
12.2 WELL—Great Drug, but Does It Prolong Life?, Tara Parker-Pope
12.3 WELL—An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up, Tara Parker-Pope
12.4 PERSONAL HEALTH—You Are Also What You Drink, Jane E. Brody
12.5 THE DOCTOR’S WORLD—With Every Epidemic, Tough Choices, Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.
Chapter 13 Essays
13.1 ESSAY—Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy, Dennis Overbye
13.2 ESSAY—Friends for Life: An Emerging Biology of Emotional Healing, Daniel Goleman
Chapter 14 Blogs
14.1 WELL—News Keeps Getting Worse for Vitamins, Tara Parker-Pope
14.2 WELL—After Cancer, Gratitude for Simple Pleasure, Dana Jennings
14.3 WELL—Behind the Statistics on TV and Teen Pregnancy, Tara Parker-Pope
A Conversation with . . . Tara Parker-Pope
Chapter 15 Beyond Plain Text
15.1 OP-CHART—American Epidemics, a Brief History, Howard Markel and Sam Potts
Dr. Tom Linden has had a long and distinguished career as both a practitioner and teacher of medical journalism. This anthology of samples from The New York Times should serve as an invaluable resource for both the classroom and the reporter. Tom has a perch at the very top from which to select the best teaching moments. - Tim Johnson, M.D., Chief Medical Editor, ABC News
Dr. Linden gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at how reporters at a top newspaper cover complex, controversial issues in health and medicine. Better still, he provides solid advice and best practices that journalists can apply to their own coverage of the health beat, whether they’re a staff writer on a big daily or in Journalism 101. - Nancy Shute, Contributing Editor, US News & World Report
Drawing on the best of the best of the world's leading newspaper, Dr. Linden has created a valuable resource for health journalism students and educators. Aspiring medical reporters would do well to follow along as he pulls apart stories to show how they came together. - Ivan Oransky, M.D., Executive Editor, Reuters Health
Medicine is the most important beat in journalism, because people trust and actually act on what is reported to them. Using examples of exceptionally good medical writing, Dr. Linden clearly identifies not only what a journalist must do to justify that trust, but also how to do it. - Art Ulene, M.D., TODAY Show’s “Family Doctor” for 23 years
This powerful and instructive anthology is both an invaluable guide to medical journalism as well as a great read. Dr. Linden offers an insider’s tour of health journalism at its finest -- from breaking news to blogs, commentary to columns and investigative stories to essays. His behind-the-scenes insights and spot-on analysis make this an essential text for anyone who writes or reads medical news. - Carol Krucoff, founding editor of The Washington Post’s Health Section and independent journalist
This Reader offers a privileged learning experience for anyone desiring to be a better health journalist or a more critical consumer of health reportage. Dr. Linden teaches us how the nation's preeminent health journalists craft stories that illuminate complex concepts. - Nortin Hadler, M.D., Author of The Last Well Person, Worried Sick, and Stabbed in the Back
A rich resource for aspiring medical journalists AND the growing number of reporters who have had the health beat added to their collection of hats! Dr. Linden’s keen eye for the subtle, along with his candid conversations with reporters, provide valuable lessons--ones even the seasoned pro will appreciate! - Helen Chickering, Health & Science Correspondent, NBC News
Tom Linden, MD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Tom Linden, M.D., is a professor of medical journalism in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As director of the medical and science journalism program, Dr. Linden administers one of the nation’s first master's programs in medical journalism. He was co-author of Dr. Tom Linden's Guide to Online Medicine, one of the first medical consumer guides for the Internet.
He’s worked as a medical journalist for CNBC, KRON-TV (San Francisco), Fox 11 (Los Angeles) and was co-anchor of "Physicians' Journal Update," the flagship news program for the Lifetime Medical Television Network. Before starting medical school, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. He's currently medical anchor for "Journal Watch Audio," produced by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Audio-Digest Foundation.