Six point guide to approaching health journalists with a media story

New guide to approaching health journalists with a media story
- launched by the Healthcare Communications Association and Medical Journalists’ Association

The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) and Medical Journalists’ Association have launched a new best practice guide: 6-POINT GUIDE TO APPROACHING HEALTH JOURNALISTS WITH A MEDIA STORY
Based on research by the Medical Journalists' Association and feedback from their members, the guide aims to help all those working in healthcare PR understand how best to approach journalists with a media story, highlighting many of the common do’s and don’ts that can impact the working relationship between journalist and PR professional.

In launching the guide, Mike Dixon, CEO of the HCA says: “The HCA regularly invites health journalists to speak to our members. It is frightening to hear the consistency in how journalists want to be approached and then the degree to which this is just not happening appropriately.”  He continues: “At best this puts a journalist off working with the particular individual or their organisation, at worst it taints their view of the whole healthcare communications profession, lessening their enthusiasm to engage with us at all.”

Jane Symons, Vice Chair of the MJA explains why they have supported the publication of the guide: “As the organisation representing health and medical journalists, we surveyed our members to understand the key challenges they face in working with healthcare PR professionals. And as a working journalist, I am not surprised by the six key points which emerged — and are highlighted in the guide. Like many of my colleagues, I never cease to be surprised by the tsunami of poorly targeted pitches I receive.” Jane continues: “But I also know that a pitch which has been thought through and provides something new, or a new take on a perennial issue, can be incredibly helpful. This guide is a great resource for those just starting in PR, but it also provides a useful checklist and reminder of the core principles to follow when approaching journalists with a story.”

The new guide forms part of the HCA’s continued drive to help set best practice standards for the healthcare communications sector. As the new chair of the HCA’s Standards and Best Practice committee, Alister Sansum, Director of Scientific & Medical Communications at Publicis Health hopes all practitioners will use the guide as a useful reminder: “It is so important that everybody acts responsibly in dealing with healthcare journalists. Not following these simple principles damages our profession’s image with these important partners in our work.”  He suggests: “Agencies please use this guide when planning campaigns with your clients and vice versa. As a sector, it is important we maintain and build our relationship with journalists as we all have the same desire to see accurate and informative health information reach our target audiences.”


- Ends -

For further information please contact:
Mike Dixon by email or telephone 07799865794

About the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA)

The HCA is a not-for-profit professional association, with membership comprising in-house teams, agencies, third sector and individuals working in national and global healthcare communications across diverse business sectors.
Our mission is to proactively represent and support those involved in global, regional and national healthcare communications by:

  1. Driving best practice and quality standards
  2. Providing education and professional development support
  3. Offering networking and mentoring opportunities
  4. Co-ordinating business intelligence opportunities and sharing knowledge

About the Medical Journalists’ Association (MJA)

The MJA was founded in 1967 as an independent professional organisation for those who write, edit or produce material on health or medicine. Since then, we have grown into a vibrant and diverse community of more than 400 journalists, broadcasters, editors and authors.
Our membership includes medical, health and pharmaceutical journalists, as well as doctors, nurses, therapists and academics. We contribute to national and regional newspapers, professional journals, business and consumer magazines, radio, television and the web and between us we have written hundreds of books and reports. While we accept sponsorship for awards and our website, we take pride in our autonomy and our motto: Independent and bloody minded.