For context, add a global dimension to your reporting

By Trudy Lieberman

For context, add a global dimension to your reportingVeteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman says that she’s long observed that U.S. health reporters are reluctant to reach out globally to inform their reporting. She points out that the health stories we’re asked to report are the same ones our counterparts abroad are writing and that this “reportorial parochialism results in poor understanding of foreign health care and makes it easy to report misleading or false claims because we have no knowledge to judge their correctness or to give context so audiences can judge for themselves.”

She has gathered nine journalists from seven countries, representing the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Italy and Portugal. The panelists represent different areas of expertise ranging from hospital safety practices and insurance systems to antibiotics, overtreatment, and conflicts of interest in medicine.

In this article, she suggests some ways to add an international perspective to your health care reporting and why it might be important to your readers, listeners and viewers.

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Trudy Lieberman, a journalist for more than 40 years, is an adjunct associate professor of public health at Hunter College in New York City. She is an advisor at, and a longtime contributor to the Columbia Journalism Review where she blogs for its website,, about media coverage of health care, Social Security and retirement.

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