Hey, Media...

Wake Up!

On Tuesday, March 27, another Diabetes Alert Day 2012 came and went.

If you're not familiar with what this annual alert day's all about, I offer some background to bring you up to speed:

This is the American Diabetes Association's one-day "wake-up call" for the U.S. public, held on the fourth Tuesday of every March. First, people can take what's called the "Diabetes Risk Test" to find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2. For every test taken between March 27 and April 27, the Boar's Head meat-makers will donate $5 to the ADA up to $50,000.  This risk test asks people to answer simple questions about weight, family history and other potential risk factors. Preventative tips are provided, too.

Yes, the alert day is mostly aimed at Type 2. But, a couple years ago, I was one of a handful of D-bloggers in the community who also pointed out that the day is for us Type 1s, too.

The JDRF joined in on the awareness activity on Tuesday by issuing its own Call to Congress, urging people to contact their congressional members in Washington D.C. and ask that critical D-funding not be slashed. Members of the Diabetes Caucuses in both the House and Senate are asking their colleagues to sign-on to letters to the leadership acknowledging the important contributions of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP). This all has to happen by Friday, March 30. This fits with what the ADA has already pushed in a statement and effort to preserve $19 billion from overall funding for 2013 for selected public health programs, including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Diabetes Translation, and its National Diabetes Prevention Program.

But all that is just media fodder. Let's get right to the point - the media coverage of diabetes.

This D-Alert Day isn't focused on media, but the day sets the stage for a new effort aimed at not only raising awareness but helping to ensure accuracy in how diabetes is covered and portrayed.

This awareness day is a great time to highlight what Diabetes Advocates program has unveiled as a way to encourage more media accountability in its coverage of diabetes. I've written about this topic before, highlighting the unfortunate examples of Media Missing The Point. Those situations are what has led to this new media outreach campaign.

From a news release sent out Tuesday by Diabetes Advocates:

"Despite the fact that media outlets are reporting on diabetes more than ever, the condition is still widely misrepresented and portrayed as only one disease - when in actuality diabetes is made up of several different diseases (type 1, type 1.5 or LADA, and type 2 being the most predominantly confused). By emailing the organization at media@diabetesadvocates.org, reporters can quickly fact check, get suggestions and have a real-time conversation with the Diabetes Advocates to ensure the accuracy of their articles. The Diabetes Advocates can also serve as sources for reporters."

With representation from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Actor's Equity (AEA) within the organization, the Diabetes Advocates can also serve as information sources to entertainment outlets. Entertainment outlets looking for information on diabetes can email the group, as well.

"Our goal is to stop being reactive and start being proactive," said Diabetes Advocates member and blogger Kelly Kunik. "When a story with incorrect information is published, the damage is done By making ourselves available to media and entertainment outlets, we are seeking to be a part of the solution."

I'm very proud and excited about this new media outreach effort, not only as a longtime Type 1 myself who is a Diabetes Advocates member but as a member of the very news industry that so often gets things wrong. Various members of the organization, myself included, will be on hand on a rotating basis to any reporters who might contact us for some help with their work. We're looking forward to it. Here's to doing as K2 says: being a part of the solution for the betterment of our community and the public in general.

Here's your chance, media. Please work with us in making sure the best and most accurate information is getting out.

Consider this your alert - on Tuesday and every day down the road.


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the great write-up Mike! I hope that the media takes advantage of this opportunity to get facts about diabetes right.
Judi said…
This info should be sent to Oprah and Dr Oz so they can get their facts straight before they broadcast to their "fans."
Scott S said…
When time permits, I'll comment on the post, but catch the PR @ http://goo.gl/GiMKl

AmyT said…
Awesome post, Mike.
k2 said…
Mike -

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