Health Issues in the Headlines: Learning to Read Between the Lines*

For more information on this course, or to schechedule, please contact the NNLM Training Office at nto@utah.edu.

Dark chocolate, red wine, and stem cells - what do these have in common? All have been reported in the news as having health benefits. Often the first place your patrons will hear about health issues is in the media. This interactive, hands-on 1 - 4 CE course will introduce participants to the environment of health reporting. Participants will learn about how health is reported in the news as well as how to evaluate the accuracy and validity of science and health stories. The impact of celebrity illness will also be discussed. By the end of this course, participants will be better equipped to help their patrons look more critically at health issues that are being reported in the news media. Actual news articles and research reports will be included for critique.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Define news literacy
  • Describe sources of health news stories
  • List challenges journalists face in reporting health research
  • Use a rating tool to analyze health news stories
  • Identify the difference between health news stories and unverified information

Agenda:

1 Hour Session

  • The Landscape of Health Stories in the Media (~20 minutes)
    • Review of health news story origins and why they may misrepresent health research.
  • Analyzing Health News Stories with Criteria Tool (~20 minutes)
    • Paired activity of finding health news stories online and using criteria tool to evaluate.
  • Blurring the Lines: Advertising, Celebrities, and Social Media (~20 minutes)
    • Review of how health stories are shared beyond news and reporting interspersed with real life example activities.

4 Hour Session

  • The Landscape of Health Stories in the Media (~ 60 minutes)
    • Review of health news story origins and why they may misrepresent health research.
      • Humorous images
      • Radio interview
      • Clickbait headlines
  • Analysis Part 1 (~ 60 minutes)
    • Implementation of health news story ranking instrument.  Focused on the following criteria
      • Cost
      • Conflict of interest
      • Availability
      • Alternatives
  • Analysis Part 2 (~ 60 minutes)
    • Implementation of health news story ranking instrument.  Focused on the following criteria:
      • Benefits
      • Harms
      • Disease-mongering
      • Novelty of the approach
      • Source
  • Blurring the Lines: Advertising, Celebrities, and Social Media (~ 60 minutes)
    • Review of how health stories are shared beyond news and reporting.
      • Native advertising
      • Celebrity endorsement
      • Social media influence

MLA CE Credits: 1-4