COMMITTEE CONNECT: MEET THE PRESS

June 27, 2011

On May 5, Carolyn Johnson of The Boston Globe, Debbie Kim of WBZ and Carey Goldberg of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog temporarily hung up their reporting caps to sit in the hot seat.

The panel members answered questions, shared their pitch pet-peeves and tips to telling science and business stories and discussed how social media and blogging have changed the way we access and share news, as part of the Marketing & Communication Committee’s annual Meet the Press event.

The event is organized to give MassBio members the inside track on pitching relevant news sources. Goldberg, former Boston bureau chief of The New York Times, Moscow correspondent for The Los Angeles Times and health/science reporter for The Boston Globe, discussed the angles that appeal to her, citing a special report she wrote on Vertex’s experimental drug VX-770. Her
3,200-word narrative, which can be found at http://commonhealth.wbur.org/tag/vertex, describes the scientific road to VX-770, which has been shown to successfully attack the underlying defect in cystic
fibrosis.

“I found myself compelled by this story,” said Goldberg. “Something that I really believe in and that’s also been diminished by the crisis in journalism is science journalism – being able to tell the
story of the scientist.”

She emphasized the impact of such stories, in contrast to the short, eyecatching pieces, and discussed how the Web is often the best venue for in-depth coverage.

“Because the overhead is so low on the Web, it can be up the next day and there’s no editor saying, ‘no, this can only be 1,500 words,’” she said. “These stories are the ones that have legs and get passed around in social media.”

Kim, who serves as the medical and health producer at WBZ, agreed the average reader or viewer is drawn in by human drama and wants to get a deeper look into what makes people tick.

“I’m always interested in why people do things,” she said. “My mom was really, really sick as a child in Korea and almost died. She became a doctor as a result of that. I always ask why, and it’s usually because they have a family member or friend or personal connection that compelled them to do the work that they’re doing.”

MassBio members can watch video from the meeting at http://video.massbio.org.

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