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Look for professional or industry turf battles

Zellen eye chart

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I couldn’t resist using the phrase “eyeball wars” from Kathleen Haughney’s story in today’s headline. After all, that’s what drew me to her Sun Sentinel piece about ophthalmologists fighting optometrists’ push to prescribe medications.

Apparently, turf wars aren’t uncommon.

“Turf battles exist among many parts of the medical profession, though some depend on what laws are already on the books,” Kathleen says. “You could check out the state’s medical association (in Florida’s case, the Florida Medical Association), which could probably give you a broader look at what turf battles exist overall.”

Kathleen uses legislation to clearly explain the issues behind the fighting.She also mixes in political spending to illustrate that this isn’t just one or two doctors fighting.

Her story says the optometrists group spent more than $1 million on political contributions. Reporters can track this information through campaign finance databases.

Kathleen says reporters have to balance the two sides and focus on readers. “On the surface, this could look like a fight between two lobbying groups. But, at the end of the day, patient health is the real issue,” she says.

 

About the Author

Rosland Gammon is a former business journalist turned college instructor. Her newsroom experience includes reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and reporting and editing at Bloomberg News. Gammon currently teaches communications at Alverno College in Milwaukee. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Rosland Gammon

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