Medicine and the media

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Event Details

25 November 2017 at 9:00 am – 25 November 2017 at 4:30 pm
553 St Kilda Rd Melbourne, VIC 3004
$299 (Discounts apply)
Education; Medicine, Nursing, Health Science; Science; Seminars & Workshops; General



Media coverage of medicine is powerful. For better or worse, mainstream news reports influence the behaviour of lay people, health professionals and policy makers. Research has also found that when the mainstream press covers scientists’ work, their papers are more frequently cited in academic literature, amplifying their impact.

While collaboration between academics and the media can be rewarding, it can go badly for both parties too. Journalists reporting may be compromised by limited understanding of evidence-based medicine, resulting in an overemphasis of benefits and omission of harms, while over-hyped press releases from industry and universities may also contribute to misleading reporting. 

Academics and clinicians often struggle to explain their work in simple language to the media, and many are hesitant to engage with journalists through fear of being misquoted or misrepresented.

This unique course is designed to bridge the gap between media and researchers by addressing these two related issues.

Course outline

In this one-day interactive course, participants will gain an understanding of the paradigm of evidence-based medicine and how it can be used to enhance reporting, using illustrative examples.

Participants from a journalism background will have the opportunity to engage in small group workshops to undertake tasks to improve their evidence-based reporting.

Researchers and academics will participate in small group sessions covering tips for better engagement with media, such as how to stay on message, avoid being misquoted and steer away from difficult areas. They will have the opportunity to prepare for and participate in a mock media interview with a health journalist, and receive targeted feedback to improve interview skills.

Learning objectives

At the end of this course participants will be able to:

  1. List the hierarchy of study types in evidence-based medicine, their advantages and limitations
  2. Report on new medical therapies and breakthroughs using an evidence-based approach
  3. Effectively and safely engage with media and journalists


  • Associate Professor Ken Harvey, a frequent contributor to the media with extensive experience in advocacy and media engagement
  • Dr Suzanne Mahady, clinical epidemiologist with expertise in evidence-based medicine and research methodology
  • Dr Charles Livingstone, a regular contributor to the public debate on gambling reforms and expert in moving from advocacy to policy
  • Julia Medew, senior health journalist for The Age, who is undertaking a PhD on media coverage of medicine.

Suzy Giuliano
School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine