Monday, August 27, 2007

Week two in JRMC 8350

We got off to a great start last week with the talk by Dr. Claude Burnett, health director for Northeast Georgia. You can review his powerpoint slides here.

Although Dr. Burnett's lead topic was teen pregnancy, he gave a statistical overview of many health department programs and cautioned that falling revenues are making these difficult to sustain. There are dozens of story ideas embedded in this presentation.

Kimberly emailed you the readings for Wednesday, and when we meet we'll be joined by a new class member. Some of you already know Tabitha Lovell, who has a background in agricultural education and is now concentrating in PR as a Grady MA student.

Plans for our November 10-14 trip to New Orleans are moving ahead. You need to fill out some advance paperwork with Anettra Mapp, so please contact her: 706-542-8506

Over the weekend I read Terry McDermott's four-part LA Times series about neuroscientist Gary Lynch's quest to understand the physical correlates of memory. McDermott had me firmly in his narrative grip, despite including lots of complex science, until the protagonist of the story developed a mysterious neurologic ailment. This wasn't part of the story McDermott set out to write and it seemed to throw him for a loop. You're not required to read this series for the course, but if you're interested in narrative journalism you may want to check it out.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your ride-alongs with the ACC police and about your ideas for the first news story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Welcome to health/med journalism!

Dear All,
I'm looking forward to seeing you in class next Wednesday morning, and before then I'll distribute the syllabus. Even without that weighty document you need to get started:

1) Please purchase a copy of News & Numbers (second edition), by Victor Cohn and Lewis Cope. This paperback is available at the UGA bookstore.
2) Read the journal article that writing coach Kimberly Davis sends you as a PDF. This prepares you for the August 22 guest lecture by Dr. Claude Burnett, health director for NE Georgia. Check the syllabus for additional readings.
3) Set up your individual "ride-along" with the Athens-Clarke County Police. This is a one-time deal, it's up to you to arrange, and you should be prepared to talk about it during class on August 29. Try and go at night. Pick up required forms from Anettra Mapp (room 252,, 542-8506) or Kimberly (room 256,, 542-8390).

Don't hesitate to contact Kimberly or me with questions.
--Knight Chair Patricia Thomas, who really does prefer to be called Pat.