I thought that would get your attention.
That’s what the many members of the press rely upon to attract readers…eye grabbing, emotion evoking ‘stories’ intended to suck readers in and cause an emotional reaction. This article I recently read in Al Jazeera is just another example of that and, frankly, I find it nauseating. I’ve been stewing about this since I read it, not unlike I stewed about it when I read the Vanity Fair article or the Time Magazine article before that.
When I was teaching a clinical research course in Toronto I actually assigned the Time Magazine article as required reading. Why? Because I felt our future clinical research professionals needed to know what the press felt was newsworthy. Not the work we do day in and day out to make a difference, not the extra time we spent with our patient (sorry, participant) to ensure they really did understand the risks and benefits of the research study, not the care we took to carefully document everything we did and made sure the documentation met the ALCOA requirements…no, the press wants to talk about guinea pigs, mistreatment and the exploitation of innocence and trust. They presume that we don’t realize that they are mothers, fathers, grandparents, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles – people – individuals deserving of the utmost care and respect.
I’ve decided that I’ve had enough. Will I be a loud enough voice to change it? No, not likely, but I am going to try. Stay tuned, fellow researchers, I’ll be sending a letter to the editor to let him or her know how this type of journalism disrespects me, us and our profession. Maybe if we band together and let our feeling be known we can effect change at some level. It’s a result I’m willing to fight for. I hope you’re with me.
Until next time,