In Brazil, health journalism is not part of the journalism undergraduate curriculum. Very few communication professionals are familiar with concept of evidence-based health care (EBH). Unsurprisingly, Brazilian newspapers, magazines and TV programs are full of false/unbalanced health news stories about treatment/supplement benefits without any scientific evidence. This situation will only change if young journalists receive training about EBH and where to find robust evidence. A team of researchers from the Brazilian Cochrane Center and teachers from the country's top-ranking journalism university created a short course to teach young journalists about basic EBH concepts and how to produce good-quality health stories.
To describe the first EBH course for young Brazilian journalists and participants' satisfaction.
We designed a randomized clinical trial, which compared a wait-list group versus an evidence-based health course group. The duration of the course was seven classes of about four hours each (28 hours in total). We obtained a convenience sample of 30 participants for each group. All 60 participants performed a test to evaluate their general knowledge in evidence-based health care. A second test will be applied to all students after the end of the course period. Our pre-planned main outcome is the mean difference in the score between the pre- and post-intervention evaluation.
We included 60 participants. The mean age of the participants was 21.26 (standard deviation (SD) 2.5). There was a predominance of female participants: 80% (48/60) were female. The first phase of the trial has already been completed and the second group of participants should be attending the course next year.
This initiative could contribute to the improvement of health news and disseminate the concept of evidence-based medicine to communication professionals, especially journalists.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:
Improving the knowledge of journalists may impact directly on the quality of news related to health and thus people's knowledge and adherence to the best evidence.