Industry Documents: Gold Mines for High-Impact Stories

Industry Documents: Gold Mines for High-Impact Stories

W4) Industry Documents: Gold Mines for High-Impact Stories

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Through decades of lobbying, the tobacco industry has provided a blueprint for using, or even corrupting, scientists to muddle evidence and meddle in public policies around the world. These activities are exhaustively documented in the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, an archive of 14 million items created by tobacco companies related to their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, scientific research and political activities, hosted by the UC San Francisco Library and Center for Knowledge Management.

For science journalists, industry papers such as the Tobacco Documents can be the starting point for rich, critical stories. In this hands-on session, UCSF experts will share their deep knowledge of this freely accessible treasure trove of documents created by an industry whose products harms public health.

Join us to explore the archive in a computer-based workshop, to find out more about such corporate scheming and nourish your own investigative science stories. Not only will you find out how journalists and academics have used these online archives to sustain high-impact, high-quality stories in different areas and countries; you will also get practical tips to trawl through the cache yourself to reveal patterns of influence and conflicts of interest.

In addition to these tobacco industry documents, more recent papers related to the scientific research and business activities of the pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries will be discussed. Last year, for example, UCSF researchers uncovered how, in an an exercise in toxic influence lifted straight from the tobacco industry’s playbook, the sugar industry manipulated scientists during the 1960s to exonerate their sweet product from any role in obesity or heart disease by shifting attention towards other potential causes of these illnesses.

A buffet lunch will be provided for participants who choose to work through lunch.