This research adds to our understanding of health and science reporting by identifying and examining the numbers, types, and simultaneous uses of resources selected by health and science journalists and editors at the initial stages of reporting, and relates this to journalists’ perceived health reporting knowledge. A telephone survey of 141 health and science journalists and editors selected from 259 community newspapers in Missouri was conducted. Information sources included those that were highly credible, easy to access, already vetted by peers, and that enabled habitual reporting. Though the majority used multiple sources to generate story ideas, about one-third of respondents used no information sources. Journalists and editors’ perceived health reporting knowledge acted as a trigger in prompting more reliance on a wider diversity of information sources, greater use of empirical evidence in health stories, and more time spent researching/writing health stories. Implications for community news organizations include education to improve actual and perceived knowledge of journalists on health and science information gathering.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences