Saturday, June 6, 2009

Public Health is Not Glamorous

Nicholas Kristof, a NYTimes reporter known for traveling around the world and covering topics often neglected by other news agents from a very personal level, highlights public health in his most recent Times blog entry. What topic are we worst at covering in the news, he asks? Kristof's answer: public health. Public health, he argues, is unglamorous, and it is long-term, two factors that essentially make it unappealing for news agents and readers alike. Rotavirus is the disease Kristof cites here, a diarrheal disease that kills half a million children annually, and yet one that very, very few have even heard of. An exception would be swine flu and other panic-inciting proto-epidemics, though even the media attention swine flu has received recently seems to have been short lived.

I leave you with two questions. The first is the same one Kristof poses to readers at the end of his article:

1. What other important but unglamorous issues are neglected by the media?

2. What can we do to ensure that issues of public health reach the public? Why is that even important?


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