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By: Eric Mittenthal   Date: 4/29/10

Back in my days working as a journalist, most of my experiences covering food involved figuring out which stories would have a free spread involved.  I’d enjoy the food that came along with the story (of course not letting the freebie impact my balanced approach) never thinking much about what I was eating. How quickly times have changed. These days it seems that reporters are craving food stories and my experience last weekend at the Health Journalism conference only solidified that idea.

The conference brings together some of the top health reporters from around the country including outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many more.  I attended for the first time in 2009 and while there seemed to be some interest in food issues, most of the people there were more focused on health care and medical issues.  Just one year has made a big difference.  This year not only were more people talking about food issues, there were also two sessions focused on covering them.

Food & Health Sessions

The first was on the increasingly hot topic of food safety.  New York Times reporter Michael Moss recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his story on Stephanie Smith, who was paralyzed after eating an E. Coli tainted hamburger.  Moss shared his experiences in covering the story and encouraged his fellow journalists to follow his lead and focus on food safety.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a jump in food safety stories soon (with pending food safety legislation certainly adding to the mix.)

The second session was on functional foods.  It’s a very broad topic that was discussed broadly in the session with the presentation ranging from health claims to supplements to labeling.  Many of the journalists in the room were very interested in the nuances on the topic and I hope they continue to seek out the science on it as they pursue it further in the future.

Connecting With Journalists

Beyond the sessions, we were able to meet hundreds of journalists and talk about their interests and nearly everyone we spoke to mentioned that food and health is now on their radar.  Lucky for us we have a brand new resource for them, our Pocket Media Guide which links journalists to more than 350 experts around the country on nutrition, food safety and agriculture issues.  We’ll soon have an online version of that available in our Food Insight newsroom specifically available for journalists looking to get the science on the issues.  Our media guide has been a popular item in the past and after running out of our stash at the conference, I’m sure it will be more popular in the future.  It’s a good sign that reporters want to get the science on the issues as they work on their stories.  It’s a resource that has definitely helped me understand the science of food and health better, even though my journalism days are behind me.

The 2010-2012 Pocket Media Guide is now available for credentialed journalists.  If you are interested in a copy please contact Eric Mittenthal ( or Jania Matthews (


3 comment(s) so far...

Anthem Blue Cross Dentist

After all, we are what we eat - Research continues to prove that eating healthy food promotes good health and unhealthy food habits lead to a diseased body

By Anthem Blue Cross Dentist on   Monday, April 04, 2011

Re: Food and Health at the Health Journalism Conference

Thanks to share this useful information with us.This is really important for the people to take safe and healthy food.

By Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon on   Monday, December 20, 2010

fresh vending

To the delight of the fast food industry, quick food options have become engrained in the mind of the consumer as a choice between convenience and nutrition. For students and employed adults who don't have time to prepare meals, convenience inevitably wins out almost every time.

By james smith on   Monday, December 20, 2010

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