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August 12, 1988

Physicians, Journalists, Ethicists Explore Their Adversarial, Interdependent Relationship

JAMA. 1988;260(6):751-757. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410060017003

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WORKING relationships among journalists, physicians, and ethicists are tenuous, often adversarial, and strangely interdependent. To explore these relationships, members of the Center for Biomedical Ethics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, recently convened a one-day conference with two objectives: to provide a forum for these three groups to discuss how best to inform society about ethical issues in medicine and health care and to educate one another about their respective needs and perspectives.

The conference had sessions on the drama and dilemma of organ transplantation, reporting on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and conflicts involving mothers and fetuses. Discussion focused on four questions:

When and why do bioethical issues become of interest to the news media?

How and to what extent does news media coverage of ethical dilemmas influence the use of resources?

Who are the experts in medical ethics and how is their credibility established?

How can the