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Innovative Health Journalism CD-ROM Unveiled

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct. 12, 2004 — A Spanish-language Health Journalism CD-ROM, designed as a support and teaching tool for journalists, students and journalism educators, is being unveiled for Latin American journalists.

The multi-media CD-ROM, which was funded primarily by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will allow journalists to access up-to-date information about topics such as HIV/AIDS and the health consequences of natural disasters. Merck & Co. Inc., also provided significant financial support for the CD-ROM.

Besides text, graphics, audio, video and animation, the CD-ROM contains basic information that allows users to improve interviewing, reporting and editing techniques and produce accurate, objective, fact-based stories. The CD-ROM, which is also available in English, provides a self-paced exercise for journalists to hone their writing and reporting skills. It will be distributed free of charge.

Seth Cropsey, director of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), said the CD-ROM, "focuses on an area of reporting that is increasingly important to the millions of people who listen to U.S. international broadcasting." For instance, when Voice of America (VOA) listeners are asked to name the programs of greatest importance to them, health issues are among the most prominently listed.

David Greeley, director for public affairs for Latin America at Merck, added: "Since many health journalists do not focus specifically on HIV/AIDS, the CD-ROM is an important tool to help them understand and report on prevention, care and treatment."

Other partners in the CD-ROM project include the Pan American Health Organization and UNAIDS.

The CD-ROM will be launched on Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 4 p.m. at the V11 Congress of the Asociacion Latinoamericana de Investigadores de Ciencias de la Comunicacion (ALAIC). The event will take place at the National University of La Plata, Sala Astor Piazzolla, La Plata.

It will also be shown at a "Journalism and Health" seminar, organized by IBB and Merck (which operates as Merck, Sharp & Dohme outside the United States), with technical support of the PAHO. The two-day seminar will feature presentations by international experts on topics such as HIV/AIDS in Latin America, access to treatment and health journalism related to the disease. The seminar takes place at the Hotel Madero by Sofitel, Rosario Vera Penaloza 360, Dique 2, Puerto Madero, Argentina.

For more information about the Health Journalism CD-ROM, please contact the following people:

In Argentina:
Loida Velilla
(54-11) 5667-7777

Raul Gatica
Merck Sharp Dohme

In U.S.:
Margalit Edelman
Merck &Co.

Joan Mower