Friday, December 4, 2009

Reporting on Social Inequities: A Brainstorming Session

Reporting on Social Inequities: A Brainstorming Session
By Michelle Levander
The goal was anything but modest. On Monday, 22 leaders from San Francisco Bay Area public health and journalism circles gathered in Oakland to brainstorm about ways to transform the way journalists report on health.

The common consensus of the participants: journalists focus too narrowly on health insurance and medical advances as story topics. They overlook the social inequities that contribute to daunting health problems and unnaturally shortened lives in poorer neighborhoods. In Oakland, for instance, there is a 12-year gap in life expectancy between the residents of more affluent neighborhoods in the hills and those who live in gritty neighborhoods in the flatlands. Behind those numbers, public health officials noted, are decades of inequitable decisions about land use, transportation, housing, education and open space.
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