Tuller Tells It Like It Is

General Awareness, Media Coverage, Perspective | 08. Dec, 2011 by | 5 Comments

By K. Kimberly McCleary, President & CEO

David-TullerJournalist David Tuller wrote his first news story about CFS in 2007, when his byline ran under the New York Times headline, “Chronic fatigue no longer seen as ‘yuppie flu.’” He has written eight articles about CFS for the Times since then; they are listed and linked below. Most have been published in the newspaper’s print edition, as well as online. The longest of those articles was about the thorny issue of case definition, a complex topic that most reporters gloss over in their coverage of CFS research. Tuller tackled it head-on, in the aftermath of the British “PACE” study results that generated headlines like “Exercise and talk therapy cure CFS.” (Tuller didn’t fall into that trap.) This April, Tuller attended the ME/CFS State of the Knowledge Workshop at the National Institutes of Health. In October, he was a member of a discussion panel at the Mill Valley Film Festival after the documentary about ME, “Voices From the Shadows,” made its international premiere.

On Thanksgiving “eve,” Nov. 23, 2011, Tuller’s latest article about CFS was posted to virology blog, a well-read science blog hosted by Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Columbia University virology professor and a member of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative’s Scientific Advisory Board. That article, “Chronic fatigue syndrome andvirology-blog-300x88 the CDC: A long, tangled tale,” represents many months of research and scores of interviews. It is lengthy, but well worth the time invested to read it. (Tuller makes it clear in the intro that the Times had no connection to the article.) Links to the article have circulated among science writers, patients and others via Twitter, Facebook and forums. Fellow science writer Ed Yong included Tuller’s piece on his DISCOVER magazine blog’s list of November’s “Science writing I’d pay to read,” providing another circulation boost. Writer and CFS patient Julie Rehmeyer wrote about the story behind David’s story for The OPEN Notebook on Jan. 18, 2012.

Tuller is a freelance contributor to the New York Times, living in San Francisco and working toward a doctorate. He holds a master’s degree in public health and coordinates a program at the University of California, Berkeley for a joint master of public health and master of journalism degree. According to the Berkeley program’s website, “The program is designed to produce public health professionals who are effective media practitioners and communicators as well as journalists with the training and knowledge necessary to cover public health and medical issues for online, print, broadcast and other media platforms.” Tuller was a guest on Dr. Racaniello’s podcast, “This Week in Virology,” on Feb. 6, 2011. They talked about responsible reporting of research studies and covered a wide range of topics in science and medicine, including CFS.

Here are links to David Tuller’s articles about CFS:

virology blog:
“Chronic fatigue syndrome and the CDC: A long, tangled tale,” Nov. 23, 2011 http://bit.ly/teDTsG

This Week in Virology (podcast):
“TWiV 119: Science and journalism with David Tuller,” Feb. 6, 2011 http://bit.ly/fFNwF6

NYTimes-circled-564x1024New York Times (most recent listed first):
·  “Fallout from fatigue syndrome retraction is far and wide,” Feb. 6, 2012 (Page D5 in the Feb. 7, 2012 print edition) http://nyti.ms/xS1ZCg

·  “Scholars retract another study linking virus to fatigue syndrome,” Dec. 26, 2011 http://nyti.ms/tNZ0IJ

·  “Fatigue syndrome study is retracted by  journal,” Dec. 22, 2011 (Page A17 in the Dec. 23, 2011 print edition) http://nyti.ms/yV5emY

·  “Viral theory is set back in CFS study,” Sept. 22, 2011 (Page A18 in the Sept. 23, 2011 print edition) http://nyti.ms/pNlLyv

·  “2 studies examine syndrome of fatigue,” June 1, 2011 (Page A18 in the June 1, 2011 print edition) http://nyti.ms/jXrBVN

·  “Defining an illness is fodder for debate,” Mar. 8, 2011 (Page D5 in the Mar. 8, 2011 print edition) http://nyti.ms/er3sSk

· “Psychotherapy eases CFS, study says,” Feb. 17, 2011 (Page A17 in the Feb. 18, 2011 print edition) http://nyti.ms/hWjw7i

· “Exhausted by illness, and doubts,” Jan. 3, 2011 (Page D5 in the Jan. 4, 2011 print edition) http://nyti.ms/eN5K0V

· “Study links chronic fatigue to virus class,” Aug. 24, 2010 http://bit.ly/tVJWHy

· “Learning firsthand about CFS,” (Expert Q&A with Dr. Leonard Jason) May 30, 2008 http://nyti.ms/kOuESH

· “Questions for your doctor: What to ask about CFS,” May 30, 2008 http://nyti.ms/rF84er

· “Chronic fatigue no longer seen as ‘yuppie flu,’” July 17, 2007 (updated and reposted on May 30, 2008) http://nyti.ms/uWuLeZ


K. Kimberly McCleary has served as the Association’s chief staff executive since 1991.

UPDATED Feb. 8, 2012 with additional coverage by David Tuller and a link to Julie Rehmeyer’s story about Tuller.

December 8, 2011