Daily Digest: Daily Grad Issue, H1N1 or swine flu?

Lisa Zehner

Welcome to Friday’s edition of Daily Digest, giving you a small dose of University of Minnesota-related news. Since most of the news is consumed in the outbreak of H1N1 (hint in our preference), most of this won’t be too much of a digest, but looking more at the debate between the two issues.

"Ski-U-Mah" Daily Grad Issue

You may have seen it on the racks already, and wondered what it was all about. This is our first year putting the commemorative publication out, and we plan to do so again in the future. We hope to expand and improve it each year, making some tweaks here and there. Let us know what you think. We would love to have your feedback. Furthermore, we will have a PDF online soon.

Swine flu or H1N1?

The name that became so popular to referring to the disease is slipping away. Most government officials are now referring to the flu as H1N1 (Example: MDH). The biggest reason is because the name ‘swine flu’ is inaccurate and a bit misleading (just ask our health staff writer Emma Carew, who caught this quite quickly), mostly because it leads people to believe that you can actually get flu from pigs, which is not true. Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law and directs the Silha Center at the University of Minnesota, said media should stick to using ‘swine flu’ in an MPR article.

University epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, who is featured in the article as well, also agrees. Osterholm has been featured on the topic in many publications and has been somewhat of an expert on the issue. 

Another professor at the University of Minnesota, Brian Buhr, said on Tuesday the pork industry in Minnesota lost $18 million, according to CNN. Our very state is the third largest for pig farming, and health officials prefer the term "H1N1 novel flu."

As a news organization, we have decided to switch to the more accurate term of H1N1. What do you guys think? H1N1 or swine flu?