A survey on the exposure to training, practice and perception of health reporting among journalists in Malaysia




Poster session 2


Monday 24 October 2016 - 15:30 to 16:00


All authors in correct order:

Tan ML1, Foong WC1, Foong SC1, Ho J1, Kumaraysun L1
1 Penang Medical College, Malaysia
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

May Loong Tan

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: Apart from the launch of Cochrane Malaysia in 2014 and one small mention of a Cochrane Review in the one of the English newspapers’ reports (1), there has been virtually no coverage of Cochrane Reviews in any of the Malaysian media. We wanted to explore the reason for this.

1. To determine exposure to training on health reporting, including duration and source of training.
2. To identify where Malaysian journalists reporting on health issues obtain their information and how they interpret the information obtained.
3. To determine their knowledge and use of Cochrane as a source of information.

Methods: An online questionnaire was sent to contact emails of all major print newspapers in Malaysia and to the National Press Club of Malaysia in April 2016.

Results: We received only 25 responses (20 usable responses) from 306 emails, mainly from English language newspaper journalists (75%) in senior positions (75%). Forty per cent regularly report on health-related issues; 95% did not have any formal training in health reporting or reading a medical research paper, but 50% were interested in workshops about health reporting. Most of the respondents did not know that systematic reviews were the most reliable source of information and 90% obtained their information by directly contacting healthcare professionals. Only one person had heard of and accessed the Cochrane Library and Cochrane Evidence, but never used any of its contents.

Conclusion: The response rate was extremely poor and further investigation is needed into why this was so. However, almost all of those who responded lacked any training on health reporting at all, but did express an interest in attending workshops. This is an ideal opportunity for Cochrane Malaysia to introduce Cochrane as source of trusted evidence, starting with this group of professionals.

1. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/10/28/doc-hard-to-prove-cause-of-symptoms/ (Last accessed 19 April 2016)