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The Reporting on Health Collaborative heard earlier this week that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, was going to meet with the head of the Centers for Disease Control and then issue a statement. Is that itself worth a story?

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 36 states have operational Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs that look for patients who are trying to feed an addiction. Only a handful track doctors who are prescribing outside the norm.

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I rarely read an entire story on my phone, but when I saw the headline Dirty medical needles put tens of thousands at risk in USA TODAY on Thursday, I had to click through all nine pages of it.

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Here's a look at the four broad categories of surveys globally -- what information can reporters glean from them and what limitations do they need to note.

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Tracking basic human events has an incredible downstream effect on measuring and making sense of health trends. Vital registration helps policymakers take targeted action to improve health. For example, the CDC has a National Birth Defects Prevention Study that relies partly on birth certificates.

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Even with major initiatives from such high-profile entities as the NFL and First Lady Michelle Obama pounding the message of exercising and healthy eating, childhood obesity in the U.S shows few signs of abating. Could more influential policy be the answer?

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Can vaccines be more useful for some people than for others?

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What happens in our society when whistleblowers are ignored? Should we ignore stories that cannot be conveniently packaged as "sound bite" material?

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It's the kind of thing that makes traditionalists in journalism cringe, and convinces them that technology will ruin the integrity of news. SEO is the tech acronym for "search engine optimization," ways to design websites and content that will rank highly in search results. What many journalists might not realize is that the techniques of SEO are actually not that far off from the fundamentals of hard news.

Picture of Angilee Shah

Wendy Johnson spent five years as a reporter at newspapers in Cape Cod and then on Capitol Hill before taking the leap to the B2B (business-to-business) media world.

"It's something that I fell into accidentally," Johnson says. But she discovered that writing about one industry for a new audience of executives and others in healthcare was both "really interesting" and viable. "I could see that there was a career track here."

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