Medical Journalism

Excerpt from “Behind the Scenes: How the Media Reports on Research”:

I’ve worked as a health journalist for over a decade, with a specialty in aging for much of that time. I started out with an unusual educational leg up: my father, James Hubbard, a family doctor and writer, taught me key points about understanding studies. Yet I still struggled at first. Research papers were gobbledygook—supposedly in English but impossible to make sense of.

Over the years, the studies haven’t gotten simpler, but I’ve gotten savvier—not only as a journalist but as a research news consumer. You can too. After all, in the midst of all that sensationalism, sometimes studies do come out that you’d actually benefit from knowing about. Deciphering which ones are likely worth a look just takes a little jargon know-how—and a deeper understanding of how research and journalism really work.