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The Ghost of Public Health Journalism: Past, Present, and Future

Cooper, Glinda S.a; Brown, Rebecca C.b

Epidemiology:
doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181cb8c3d
Epidemiology & Society
Abstract

The news industry is undergoing shrinking newspaper circulations, cuts in science and health coverage, and expansion of Internet news sources. We examine the impact of these changes using a case study set in Libby, Montana. In 1999, a Seattle newspaper story focused attention on asbestos exposure and related diseases in this small town. In 2009, that newspaper became an online-only newspaper, just as coverage of a related criminal trial began. Later that year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a public health emergency. Online newspaper archives and a collaboration between the University of Montana's journalism and law schools contributed to coverage of these developments. Continued efforts to promote interest in and skills needed for high-quality public health and environmental reporting are needed.

Author Information

From the aDepartment of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC; and bLegis Congressional Fellowship, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.

Editors' Note: Epidemiology & Society provides a broad forum for epidemiologic perspective on health research, public policy, and global health.

Submitted 30 June 2009; accepted 28 September 2009.

Editors' note: A commentary on this article appears on page 267.

Correspondence: Glinda Cooper, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC. E-mail: Cooper.Glinda@epa.gov.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.