From November 30 until December 2, 2006, discussion at the Nieman Foundation revolved around news coverage of a potential health crisis — the emergence of the next influenza pandemic. Presented by the Nieman Foundation and organized by Stefanie Friedhoff, this conference was sponsored by the Dart Foundation and cosponsored by the National Center for Critical Incident Analysis and the Association of Health Care Journalists. "The Next Big Health Crisis — And How to Cover It" brought journalists together with scientists, public health officials, medical experts, academic researchers, law enforcement officers, public policy experts, and Homeland Security officials to talk about how best to prepare for the possible arrival of pandemic flu. In the opening panel, a specialist in infectious disease — introduced as "the king of preparedness for pandemic flu" — teamed up with several journalists to share information on what we might expect when a widespread, dangerous strain of flu creates a societal disaster.
With publication of this panel's presentation — and subsequent ones — the words on the pages of Nieman Reports are edited excerpts from a lengthy transcript of the conference.
We are grateful to The Associated Press for their generosity in providing nearly all of the photographs, which offer a visual understanding of these issues.