This course will provide a basic background for those interested in covering public health and medical issues. It will stress the importance of incorporating a broad social perspective in reporting on stories about health. The course will help students understand the challenges and complexities of the field and will provide tools for developing story ideas and wading through the massive amounts of available information (and disinformation). The class will examine key public health concepts, issues and debates.
Students in this course will learn to report on and think critically about licit and illicit drug production, consumption, regulation, controversies, access and more. We’ll cover how to read scientific studies on drug effectiveness, use and risks; interpret drug policy and its history; “follow the money”; and understand the rules and regulations guiding drug use, restrictions, enforcement and pricing. The class would focus on a series of case studies on drugs that have received national coverage in recent years, including Truvada, crack cocaine, meth, marijuana, Sovaldi, the MMR vaccine, and others.
Berkeley offers the only concurrent degree program in public health and journalism in the country. Students in the joint program between our school and Berkeley’s School of Public Health graduate with two Masters degrees—one in each discipline—and are uniquely equipped to report knowledgeably and skillfully on topics ranging from health care reform to the latest infectious disease threats.
Concurrent degree students choose a concentration in journalism (narrative writing, audio, or new media) and in public health (infectious diseases, environmental health, policy, or epidemiology). All concurrent students take “J200: Reporting the News,” during the fall of their first year. In the spring, they begin taking courses at the School of Public Health. During their second and third years, they combine coursework in both schools and complete a final project for each program.
Students don’t need to be enrolled in the concurrent program to take our classes on health and science reporting, including “The Drugs Wars” and “Reporting on Health and Medicine.” Students in these and other classes have reported on controversial therapies, hidden epidemics, disputes over toxic waste, and much more. For more examples of student work, see Student Work, below.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
December 1st at 8:59 pm PST
Application available now.