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Topic: Covering controversial topics

Covering abortion as a health care story, not just a political one

Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ)

"Nearly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, pregnant people continue to have difficulty accessing abortion care across the country. During a panel at HJ24, a group of medical professionals discussed the impact of the reversal, including what they’re seeing on the ground." The panel included insight from doctors and recommendations for journalists.

Media briefing: Reproductive health and abortion


"This briefing, part of a series of SciLine media briefings covering key issues in the 2024 election, covered what the latest scientific research says about the latest stats on abortion, including geographic, demographic, and late- versus early-term distribution; the types of abortions that are available remotely and in healthcare settings, including surgical versus medication, and their relative prevalence; physical and mental health effects of getting an abortion or being unable to access a desired abortion; and challenges in data collection and data reliability."

Trauma-informed journalism: What it is, why it’s important and tips for practicing it

"Experts and journalists who have researched and worked with trauma survivors say that practicing trauma-informed journalism not only leads to better, more accurate stories, but also helps protect survivors from further harm." This explainer and tip sheet is based on a review of several reliable sources on trauma-informed reporting and interviews with Elana Newman of the Dart Center, and Tamara Cherry, founder of Pickup Communications PR agency, both experts who focus on this area.
Resource Database / Guide

Tip sheet: Reporting on hot-button topics as a science writer: Lessons from abortion coverage

CASW Connector, The Journalist's Resource

On July 11, CASW Connector and The Journalist’s Resource hosted a Chat discussing how journalists can better cover hot-button topics, focusing on abortion as an example of a medical topic that has become increasingly political. The panelists shared lessons from their research and reporting, offered guidance for journalists covering abortion, and answered questions from the audience. The event was moderated by Naseem Miller, senior health editor at The Journalist’s Resource, and the panelists were Sarah McCammon, national political correspondent at NPR who covers abortion policy among other divisive topics, and Katie Woodruff, public health social scientist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Services at the University of California, San Francisco.

Research highlights need for public health approach in news reporting of gun violence

A May 2024 study, published in BMC Public Health, examines local television news clips covering gun violence. The study "reveals an overwhelming reliance on law enforcement narratives, missing deeper insights into the root causes and potential solutions to gun violence." This article unpacks those findings and offers recommendations for journalists covering gun violence as a public health issue.

Abortion pill mifepristone: An explainer and research roundup about its history, safety and future

"Amid pending court cases and ballot initiatives, journalistic coverage of medication abortion has never been more crucial. This piece aims to help inform the narrative with scientific evidence." The article includes an explanation and history of medication abortion research and data on access to these medications, and recommendations of sources who may discuss this topic.

EMTALA and abortions: An explainer and research roundup

"Under a federal law, hospital emergency departments must provide appropriate emergency medical treatment to any patients who need it. But now the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case that questions the law's precedence over state-level abortion bans." This article explains what journalists should know about the law, called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA. It includes links to research papers and suggestions for finding expert sources on this topic.