Journalists armed with critical appraisal skills to improve public health reporting

Mid-career journalists from across the country attended a training program here last week that armed them with critical appraisal skills for better public health reporting in their States.

The training was offered jointly by UNICEF, The George Institute for Global Health, Oxford University and Reuters.   

The course – which takes inspiration from the globally acclaimed   critical appraisal skills program --   was prepared after consultation with academic experts and journalists in India and offered participants a range of skills and tools to improve public health reporting.

The two-day course covered the areas like the importance of  public health reporting, the ethics of health journalism, understanding the basics of health related data, introduction to research methods and health reporting based on evidence.

The case study that underpinned the entire course was childhood immunisation. With improved access to seeking and searching evidence, analysing research papers and understanding data, participants hope that they can better report on immunisation issues thus preventing the spread of misinformation.    

A student-centred learning and teaching was adopted using a variety of methods including lectures, small group work, case studies, assignments and feedback.

The sessions were interactive with ample opportunities for questions and discussion. A brief overview of the subject was presented. Participants learnt to read scientific papers and selected articles from the news media, and work in groups to report a story.

On the occasion a training of trainers programme was also held so that the workshops can cascade to the rest of the country