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New program teaches MDs how to be journalists

Physician-journalists aren't exactly uncommon (Dr. Gupta, anyone?), but thanks to Mayo Medical School, we could see an influx of them in coming years. Starting this fall, MDs-to-be from the Minnesota school will be able to fulfill a dual master’s degree through Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Interested students will take a break between their second and third years of medical school to travel to ASU and complete the master's program in 12 months.

The goal, Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan recently said, is to produce physicians with the "ability to tell important, complex and nuanced medical stories to wide audiences on any platform." And Edward Sylvester, a journalism professor there, commented earlier this week that the program says a lot about the state of journalism:

“It’s a great example of the radical changes going on in our ideas of who is doing journalism and of how we all report the news. But what makes good journalism and what makes good medicine haven’t changed when you get below the surface,” Sylvester said in an e-mail.

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