Skip to main content


Evidence meets the media: working with science journalists in South Africa

Date and Location




Saturday 21 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Anel Schoonees

Contact person

Anel Schoonees
Abstract text
Background: Consumers are important stakeholders within evidence-based health care (EBHC). Journalists are gatekeepers to consumers’ understanding of healthcare, thus influencing consumer decision-making. Consequently it is important to build capacity of and engage journalists in knowledge translation activities and the use of best evidence to inform healthcare decisions. Objectives: To enhance the capacity of South African science journalists to better understand, find and apply EBHC principles when reporting on health research. Methods: As part of an initiative to facilitate engagement between researchers and science journalists, we are facilitating a workshop on the use of best evidence and the role of EBHC in October 2013. Content development The workshop will focus on the first three steps of EBHC and is divided into the following subsessions: EBHC: the why, the what and the how; Ask and you shall retrieve; and Critical appraisal: not all evidence is equal. We will end off with structured discussions centred on enablers and constraints of applying EBHC principles during reporting. There will be ample interaction, using local scenarios for formulating questions, and referring to The Cochrane Library for retrieving research. Basic principles of critical appraisal will be covered and demonstrated. Measuring potential impact and feedback Potential impacts will be measured by pre- and post-assessments, consisting of five Likert-scale questions testing confidence in EBHC knowledge and skills and three multiple-choice questions assessing application. An evaluation form will be used to obtain constructive feedback from journalists for improving the workshop. Results: We will share details regarding the content of the workshop, including the approach, content and measuring impact. Conclusions: Engaging with journalists is key to enhance use of best evidence in media articles. It is of equal importance to familiarise ourselves with journalism etiquette, and learn about the context and challenges which journalists operate in.