Posts Tagged: Preventive Journalism

Preventive Journalism Alert: medicines go missing in America

Rob Stein brings an alarming situation to light in the Washington Post: sick people all over the country, including cancer patients, are encountering drug shortages and often are unable to get the most effective treatments available.  Medicines hit by shortages range from important cancer drugs like cytarabine (used against leukemia) to the most basic form of painkiller available to patients suffering serious pain: morphine.  In some cases, manufacturers have stopped making the drugs because higher profits are no longer available after patents run out, and generic manufacturers can’t meet the demand.  Some manufacturers are blaming the Food and Drug Administration, saying its overly stringent safety standards are preventing drugs from reaching the marketplace.  But Stein’s reporting makes it clear that manufacturing problems and supply chain mixups are the more likely culprit.  This is a clear case for urgent federal oversight.

Preventive Journalism update: WSJ on aging oil platforms in Gulf

More warnings about the dangers of oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico — this time focused not on super-deep drilling or the poisons that still remain in the water there, but on the ancient and decrepit oil platforms standing in the Gulf of Mexico, some of which have been there for more than fifty years.

Ben Casselman writes in the Wall Street Journal about the threat of fires, explosions, and spills from aging Gulf of Mexico oil instrastructure, which one expert says “is at a point now where we’re not going to be able to ignore it any longer.” (more…)

Preventive Journalism Update: Jacques Leslie and Kettleman City, California

Jacques Leslie has put together a fascinating piece of preventive journalism for Mother Jones (it’s not online yet, so if you don’t subscribe to their magazine, you have to go here to read it).  As with his past work looking at environmental degradation in China, Leslie manages to weave together real life stories and the hard realities of science to describe a challenged community. In this case, the community is Kettleman City, California, where toxic chemicals and public health problems are coming together with frightening cumulative impact. (more…)

Preventive Journalism and the BP oil spill

One of the challenges preventive journalism faces is that it combines so many specialties:  writing, reporting, historical analysis, and evidence-based forecasting.  Skeptics we’ve talked to about this approach say you can’t report on something that’s going to happen in the future.   But as NPR’s Deborah Amis makes clear in her recent interview with Prof. Tad Patzek of the University of Texas, expertise in predicting the future (and avoiding tragedies like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill) is a field we can’t afford not to develop.  (more…)


Charles Duhigg of the New York Times looks at a dangerous pesticide called atrazine that has been around — and probably in your particular organism — for many years. Scientists now believe it may be hazardous in much lower concentrations than previously believed. -NH