Sunday, July 27, 2008

Upcoming Conference On The Health Blogosphere

# 2179




The Kaiser Family Foundation will host a conference on the Health Blogosphere this coming Tuesday, with Secretary Michael Leavitt of the HHS (Health & Human Services) giving the keynote address, followed by a panel discussion on health related blogging.



Here is how the Kaiser Website describes the meeting. 




The Health Blogoshpere: What It Means for Policy Debates and Journalism


LIVE on Tuesday, July 29 at 1 p.m. ET: View a webcast of a discussion sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation on the growing influence of blogs on health news and policy debates. Submit questions before or during the event to





Rakesh Singh
(202) 654-1313
Tiffany Ford
(202) 347-5270



On Tuesday, July 29, the Kaiser Family Foundation is sponsoring a discussion about the growing influence of blogs on health news and policy debates. Only in the past few years has the blogosphere become mainstream. In the health policy arena, we now see policymakers, journalists, researchers and interest groups utilizing this new media tool to deliver information to their audiences.


The briefing will highlight how the traditional health policy world has embraced blogging and will feature a keynote address by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, the first cabinet officer to author an official blog, followed by a moderated discussion with a variety of health policy bloggers and a media analyst.


Questions to be explored with the panelists include: Why do individuals and organizations blog? How does blogging impact the broader work of an organization? Are there different standards used when blogging versus other writing? Have blogs impacted the news business significantly? What kind of influence are blogs having on political and policy debates?


Welcome and Introduction

Drew Altman, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Kaiser Family Foundation

Keynote Address

The Honorable Michael O. Leavitt
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Panel Discussion

Vicky Rideout (moderator)
Vice President, Kaiser Family Foundation and
Director, Kaiser Forum on Health Journalism and the News Business
Jacob Goldstein, Wall Street Journal
Michael Cannon, Cato Institute
Ezra Klein, American Prospect Magazine
John McDonough, Office of Senator Edward Kennedy and formerly of Health Care for All in Massachusetts

Tom Rosenstiel, Center for Excellence in Journalism


WHEN: Tuesday, July 29, lunch served at 12:30 p.m. and program begins at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Barabara Jordan Conference Center , 1330 G Street, NW , Washington , DC . For those who cannot attend, the event will be webcast live.

RSVP: If you plan to attend the event, please send your name and affiliation to




A little over a year ago, the HHS set up a 5-week Pandemic Leadership Blog, and invited roughly a dozen bloggers from around the country to participate.  This blog site, and the hundreds of comments it inspired, is archived online and may still be viewed.


Secretary Leavitt, as you probably know, is the first cabinet level official to blog on a regular basis.   His blog is both interesting and entertaining, and is well worth your time to visit.   He is currently in the middle of a multi-part series on the safety of global imports called Safety At The Speed Of Life. 


Here are links to the first 5 parts:


  • Safety at the Speed of Life- Blog 5
  • Safety at the Speed of Life- Blog 4
  • Safety at the Speed of Life- Blog 3
  • Safety at the Speed of Life- Blog 2
  • Safety at the Speed of Life- Blog 1


  • Earlier this year, the HHS held a pandemic communications tabletop exercise, and once again they invited the blogosphere to participate.  Sitting at the table with Maggie Fox of Reuters and Lisa Stark of ABC news were Internet bloggers  like Dr. Greg Dworkin of the Flu Wiki, Sharon Sanders of Flutrackers, and myself.


    We've obviously come a long way.   Bloggers are now considered to be part of the `new media'.   Earlier this month I explored this concept in Feedback on Flublogia.  


    According to Technorati, there are more than 112 million bloggers.  That's a lot of content.  Increasingly people are turning to bloggers to get news, information, and opinion.


    As always, whether it is mainstream news or Internet blogs, Caveat Lector.


    It will be interesting to see how these panel members view this `new media' of ours.    I know I'll be watching.

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