Briefing Notes: Global Health Media

Chloe Choppen
Chloe Choppen4th February 2019

The Telegraph

Anne joined The Telegraph in February as part of a new global health security team funded by Gates. There is no interference editorially and they are free to pick any story that’s of interest. Most of their content goes online and in their newsletter but some pieces are picked up by the newspaper. The territory they write about is very broad. Anne couldn’t say exactly why Gates was funding this team but clearly they want to reach a different audience from Guardian Development.  Their online content is free to access unlike much other Telegraph content which is behind a pay wall. Anne is keen to work with NGOs and is happy to accept NGO funding for trips. She doesn’t travel much. More of the travel is done by her boss Paul Nuki. Stories covered by Anne and her colleagues include infectious diseases and violence against women and girls in India, anti-microbial resistance, new flu strains, pandemics, contraception, malaria, aid, Zika babies, gonorrhea. They have covered stories in Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, the US, Germany. Their most popular story online was a piece on child brides in Bangladesh – it was well written, had a strong headline and good photos, and obviously resonated with their audience. It received more than 200,000 hits. Anne is also keen to cover food and water security, air pollution, non-communicable diseases, health systems (maybe  Nigeria), Rwanda (as a case study of how things are changing) – or possibly Ethiopia, supercrops, obesity in the Middle East. Anne is keen on photo galleries – send them to her or Paul.

 

The Economist

Slavea is the newly appointed health care correspondent for The Economist – her brief is to cover global health stories; there are others covering the NHS and UK health policy (Hamish Birrell) and pharma (Alice Fulwood). She has freedom to search out stories all over the globe that interest her and she will either go and cover the story herself (The Economist has a generous travel budget) or ask a stringer or correspondent to investigate. The key for her is to find stories that have not been reported or to find a new angle. The Economist regards itself as a newspaper so it will cover the news agenda but it needs to find something fresh to say. Timing is crucial too as publication day is on a Thursday. If you have a report coming out on a Friday it’s unlikely to get reported as by the following week it will be old news. Slavea works with Natasha Loder who is health care editor. They are newly appointed as the editor of The Economist wants to cover more health stories. The Economist is divided into sections – UK, Europe, Africa, Latin America, International etc. Slavea writes mostly for the international sections. Most of the stories come from her and have been approved by an editor – around 10% are the result of an editor asking her to look at something. So the best person to pitch to at The Economist is correspondents like Slavea and Natasha. If you’re trying to find a correspondent on The Economist, they have a media directory online which is useful but a little out of date.  There is some overlap as Slavea may cover policy if Hamish his away and vice versa. Slavea has written about lead poisoning in Baltimore, FGM, e cigarettes, hospitals ending ‘pyjama paralysis’, the drug spice, measles outbreak in Europe, malaria eradication in Swaziland. Slavea gave an example of her approach – she wrote a piece about abortion. She wanted to look at it as a health problem not a moral one. If you wanted to reduce the number of abortions which policies would you introduce? So she contrasted countries with high and low rates of abortion and drew conclusions from that. She was asking the question ‘why is this happening?’ Her approach is quite analytical and as a former data journalist, she likes to chew over the data. She typically writes one longer story a week and one shorter one – the shorter one can be quite quirky and run in a separate box – she calls these ‘jolly boxes.’  Slavea is particularly interested in positive stories – a case of a policy that actually works for example. The Economist has weekly podcasts on science, business, finance, the week ahead and will soon launch a daily news podcast.

 

Conclusion

Both Slavea and Anne said there was more space in their papers for health stories, but there was no clear steer from them as to why this was the case. Both are happy to receive pitches but prefer short to the point emails generally without attachments (if there is a report or some new data then Slavea would like this as an attachment). They want to know why a story is new or if it is not new then what is the new angle. Slavea is also always interested in why this is the case. Slavea is new to this beat so is happy to meet NGOs for a briefing on their work and areas of interest. Both said not to send them press releases. They want targeted pitches with specific angles.

 

Speakers

slaveachankova@economist.com  Health care correspondent

anne.gulland@telegraph.co.uk Global health security correspondent

 

Other key contacts

Paul.nuki@telegraph.co.uk Global Health security editor

Sarah.newey@telegraph.co.uk Data journalist and global health security reporter

NatashaLoder@economist.com Health care editor

HamishBirrell@economist.com Public policy correspondent

AliceFulwood@economist.com Pharma correspondent

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