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Generalists versus specialists

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 19 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:178
  1. Melissa Sweet, freelance journalist
  1. who writes about health for the mainstream and specialist press in Australia

    Row among US journalists goes to the heart of who and what science writing is for

    The boundaries between journalism and specialist scientific/medical publishing have become the subject of heated debate among science writers and journalists in the United States.

    The debate has also raised questions about the role of journals such as the BMJ and JAMA (the journal of the American Medical Association) in the internet age: now that they are read more widely by the general public, should they still be considered as purely professional journals?

    The bunfight—which erupted on the electronic discussion list of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) over the Christmas break (—was triggered by some specialist writers' concerns at their exclusion from fellowships that provide further training to journalists.

    Many such fellowships are restricted to journalists who reach the general public, and have typically been awarded to those working for mainstream print, radio, or television outlets.

    The stated aim of such fellowships has been to promote …

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