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an Economist Intelligence Unit business healthcare

Bad Science or Bad Science reporting?

July 20th 2010

Building the Big Society

This month, Bazian's analyst team manager Alicia White, supported by Viv Muthu (Bazian’s CEO) gave an invited workshop at the Centre for Investigative Journalism Summer School. The school offers hands-on training to journalists, researchers, charity workers and journalism students and is the UK's only annual investigative journalism forum. Alicia and Viv’s talk "Bad Science or Bad Science reporting" was based on Bazian's experience in critically appraising healthcare research and healthcare stories in the news - particularly as part of the Behind the Headlines service on NHS Choices. The interactive session used practical examples to highlight some simple tricks and rules of thumb to help journalists spot common types of hype and avoid problematic errors of interpretation. The session was well received, and the enthusiasm of the attendees – mostly trainee journalists – bodes well for the future of health journalism. We wish them all the best in the future (provided, of course, they all write nice things about us).

The summer school students also had the opportunity hear from Dr Ben Goldacre, who gave a keynote speech, Nigel Hawkes, former Health Editor at the Times, and statistics and evidence-based medicine guru Professor Doug Altman, all of whom presented workshops at the School.