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Behind the Mask Workshop: Get Your Numbers Straight: Making Sense of Health Data




Disruption Network Lab




Serena Tinari



In the current global crisis, journalists and the general public have been forced to become experts in complex public health issues – at warp speed. For a year now, we all have been confronted with a tsunami of numbers, statistical models and a science that seems to change by the day. How can you make sense of competing claims, varied specialists and the now daily jargon of a new, highly medicalized normal? Here’s an antidote: a crash course with a medical investigative journalist whose work is at the intersection between muckraking and Evidence-Based Medicine.

In this 2-hour workshop, the participants learn why a study is not ‘just a study’ and how come numbers do make sense only if put in a context. Also, how can you spot the flaws in the claims of corporate press releases and government officials? What about conflicts of interest, and how can you develop a spider-sense to spot red flags in public health communication and mainstream media reporting? With concrete examples out of the COVID-19 era, and tips to avoid common pitfalls.

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