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close this bookA Media Handbook for HIV Vaccine Trials for Africa (UNAIDS, 2001, 45 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contentsSection 1 - Introduction: the public perception about vaccine trials
Open this folder and view contentsSection 2 - The mission of the media
Open this folder and view contentsSection 3 -The structure of media organizations
View the documentSection 4 - A day in the life of a journalist
Open this folder and view contentsSection 5 - Identifying your public and partners
Open this folder and view contentsSection 6 - Reaching your public
Open this folder and view contentsSection 7 - A Press Conference
Open this folder and view contentsSection 8 - What if something goes wrong during the trial?
View the documentSection 9 - Conclusion
View the documentBibliography
View the documentAppendix 1: Communications and vaccine trials in Thailand33
View the documentAppendix 2: Communication issues in vaccine trials in Uganda39
View the documentAppendix 3: Communications and vaccine trials preparation in Kenya
View the documentAppendix 4: Questions that may cause you anxieties

Section 4 - A day in the life of a journalist

In most news organizations, the editorial meeting is the most crucial activity of the day's business. It is usually a round table format with only two items on the table: copies of yesterday's news bulletin (or newspaper, videotape or audio cassette as the case may be) and the assignment register (the book in which the day's assignments are listed and in which invitation notices to news conferences are listed and kept. It is at this meeting that oversights, mistakes and errors in yesterday's newscasts or publications are discussed.

This meeting is critical to your communications efforts: this is where reporters are assigned to cover the news of the day. Fortunately, several media organizations have at least one science/health reporter, so you may already have a well-trained science writer who has an interest in vaccine work. If not, you should still work with whoever routinely covers science and HIV/AIDS stories - even if such reporters cover other 'beats',8 too. Your task is to make these writers see the value in your work, that is, why it is important to society. The science reporter/writer is your first ally; if you lose her/him, your chances of getting your message across, and developing public goodwill, become more difficult.

8 'Beats' is how journalists describe their routine work. Accordingly, the HIV/AIDS writer is on the science beat; the reporter who covers soccer, baseball and swimming is on the sports beat.