Resources for Reporting on Science and Health

At the SPJ Western Regional Conference in San Francisco on Saturday April 18, a stellar group of journalists talked about strategies for reporting on controversial and knotty scientific stories.

Key takeaways from the session: Avoid creating the impression of false balance when there is a scientific consensus, whether you’re reporting on vaccination or climate change. Look for health studies done in large groups of people, not in 5 subjects—and not in mice. Be skeptical of functional MRI studies that purport to explain why we believe in god or like chocolate. And be especially skeptical of press releases and aware of the biases of your sources.

Moderator Liza Gross, co-author of The Science Writers’ Handbook, provided the following list of resources during the session. Thanks to her for sharing it with SPJ NorCal and for putting together the panel.