Table 1

Journalist characteristics

CharacteristicsNo of journalists (n=22)
Type of journalist
 Health14 (63.6%)
 Science (including health)6 (27.3%)
 General2 (9.1%)
 Male4 (18.2%)
 Female18 (81.8%)
Years of experience
 <53 (13.6%)
 5–109 (40.9%)
 11–202 (9.1%)
 21–252 (9.1%)
 >306 (27.3%)
Workplace setting
 The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)8 (36.4%)
 Freelance6 (27.3%)
 Online and print newspaper (Sydney Morning Herald)3 (13.6%)
 Health website (Medical Republic)2 (9.1%)
 Not-for-profit media outlet accepting stories from academics (The Conversation)2 (9.1%)
 Online newspaper (New Daily)1 (4.5%)
 Peer-reviewed journal (Medical Journal of Australia)1 (4.5%)
Level of health story reporting
 A lot (writes health articles on most days)18 (81.8%)
 Some (every second week)2 (9.1%)
 Very little (less than once a month)1 (4.5%)
History of reporting on medical tests
 Yes16 (72.7%)
 No4 (18.2%)
 Unsure2 (9.1%)
History of training in understanding medical evidence
 Yes7 (31.8%)
 No15 (68.2%)
Approached to report on medical tests
 Yes15 (68.2%)
 No7 (31.8%)
  • The ABC provides radio, television and online services. The majority of ABC employed journalists in this study perform online and radio roles. The participants from The Conversation and The Medical Journal of Australia are journalists/editors who select, steer and edit news stories and submitted articles. They have former roles in mainstream media.

  • Most of the journalists were based in major population regions such as Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Perth.