If anyone doubts that TV news shows know how to cover health, CNN’s recent report on breast cancer patient Chrissy Turner should settle the matter. The story, less than three minutes long, aired on Nov 27, a few days before Turner underwent a mastectomy at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.
In the interview at her home, the patient seems anxious but composed—like so many women in similar circumstances. But there’s a difference here: Chrissy is eight years old. Wise beyond her years, she looks into the camera and talks about her illness. “I hope I can fight it off,” she says. I challenge anyone to watch this story with dry eyes.
As a person who once pursued a career in TV journalism, I can tell you TV news has no peer when it comes making us feel empathy. The results are generally less spectacular when the subject is difficult-to-fathom medical science. But I believe there’s a solution. What if TV news shows could borrow some of the tricks and tools Hollywood uses to make these challenging elements more appealing? By doing this, the shows would elevate our national conversation about science and boost viewer engagement.
This content is repurposed from O’Dwyer’s.