While most breaking news in science, technology and medicine arises either from scientific publication or papers delivered at professional meetings and conferences, many spontaneous events occur that interest science writers.
The most obvious and most frequent is the hospital emergency story. Examples include a clinical advance or the medical treatment of famous persons or even of unknown victims of a major disaster.
To help media gather information about such events, information officers and key hospital officials should be acquainted with editors and reporters and with news staffs of television and radio stations.
Every hospital should have an authorized spokesperson available at all times via beeper or cellular phone to answer questions from reporters. If an emergency is expected to last several days, a room in the hospital should be provided as a completely equipped newsroom.
Hospital telephone operators should be instructed to refer inquiries from reporters to the authorized public relations person. Such a representative of the hospital should know that reporters need information quickly and that it is the hospital's duty to have answers as soon as possible. Too often, reticence to respond to media inquiries leads to inaccurate or incomplete news reporting.
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