Medical & Science Journalism Program
The Medical & Science Journalism Program at UNC is one of the nation's first master's programs of its kind. The program teaches skills needed to work as a practicing medical and science journalist across all media platforms.
The mission of the program is to educate medical and science writers and journalists so that they can communicate the wonders and complexities of science and medicine to capture the imaginations of viewers, listeners and readers. Medical and science journalists provide a bridge between scientists and consumers. The program teaches students skills in multiple platforms including print, video, audio and multimedia.
In late 2012, a three-part series on environmental issues facing North Carolina State Parks aired on the state's public television news and information program "North Carolina Now."
|Gorges State Park
The first part of the series examines how a temperate rain forest in Gorges State Park supports one of the most diverse ecosystems in the eastern United States. Patrick Mustain, a master's student in the Medical and Science Journalism Program, produced the piece with help from Dane Emmerling, a master's student in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Jeanne-Marie DeStefano, a master's student in the journalism school, wrote the script and shot additional video, along with Mustain.
|Eno River State Park
The second report tells the story of an exotic plant from Asia that threatens to upset the natural ecosystem in the Eno River. Justin Ridge, a doctoral student in marine sciences, produced the piece. Jesse Abdenour, a doctoral student in the journalism school, wrote the script and shot additional video, along with Ridge.
|Fort Macon State Park
The final report traces the long battle to save Fort Macon from the ocean's relentless onslaught. UNC environmental sciences student Ethan Miller produced the piece with help from geology student Siobhan Kenney. Senior journalism student Joseph Chapman wrote the script and shot additional video.
Environmental Heroes series is one of more than 30 reports produced by students in the UNC Medical & Science Journalism Program.
In December 2010 and 2011, students produced four reports on energy that aired on North Carolina Public Television. You can view the entire series that included video reports on
View our half-hour documentary, "Environmental Heroes," that tells the stories of how one tree lover is on a mission to save the hemlocks from destruction, how two farmers are practicing sustainable agriculture to bring food to the table, and how local citizens are cleaning up a polluted urban creek. To view other award-winning medical, science and environmental TV reports, check out our TV Web page. Students also have published recent articles in The Scientist, Endeavors magazine and local publications.
Tom Linden, M.D., is director of the Medical & Science Journalism Program and Glaxo Wellcome Distinguished Professor of Medical Journalism in the school. Faculty from both the J-School and the Gillings School of Global Public Health teach required courses in the master's program. A number of distinguished guest lecturers also work with the program's students.
If you're interested in reading a new book that offers how-to tips for aspiring medical journalists, check out the "The New York Times Reader: Health & Medicine" (2011, CQ Press) by Dr. Linden. For more information about educational opportunities in medical and science journalism, read Dr. Linden's article, "Learning To Be a Medical Journalist," in Nieman Reports. You can also read an essay by Dr. Linden in the journal Electronic News about ethical issues raised by television doctors reporting on the Haitian earthquake.