We often think of the connections between “Media and Government” or “Media and Entertainment,” but far less often about “Media and Medicine.” A few weeks ago, the Alpha Alpha Theta Honor Society at Cecil College hosted a meaningful panel discussion on this very topic.
The panel included several faculty members (including their journalism adjunct) and community members who work in the media or medical field.
What transpired was an interesting conversation about the role of the media in either informing the public about a health issue or else about the “power of suggestion” that the media has in terms of marketing pharmaceuticals.
The students had particularly good questions and were highly interested in the topic. At times, the students were so knowledgeable that I felt we had somehow traded places and I was the one sitting in the audience.
One topic we touched upon was related to the threat of a bird flu epidemic, and whether or not the media—even on the local level—was guilty of hype. I disagreed, because the threat of the epidemic was very real. Better to be informed than to take the ostrich approach with one’s head in the sand. I also saw parallels between the threat of a modern epidemic and the Spanish flu epidemic that struck the region nearly a century ago.
All in all, it was a great gathering and thanks to Cecil College’s Alpha Alpha Theta Honor Society for raising the bar for meaningful public discourse on campus.