Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News writes about how she killed a story about blood testing company Theranos for NPR after her experience with its public relations staff, including the mysterious fire alarm at a Walgreen’s she was visiting.
Gold writes, “Soon, the two Theranos representatives approached me again — with a third on the phone, who said she wanted to talk to me. They were getting complaints about my asking patients questions, she told me. The main Theranos office had gotten several calls from people who had been in the Walgreens that morning, she claimed, complaining that a reporter was bothering them.
“I hadn’t pressured anyone. The patients I’d interviewed had all been perfectly friendly and willing. I’ve also been a health reporter for 10 years, and never have I been told I was pushing patients to do something that made them uncomfortable.
“Something seemed very wrong.
“Soon, one of the Theranos representatives approached me again, clearly nervous. They appeared worried. Unless I found a patient getting a finger prick, he said, they would likely have to cancel my interview with Holmes.
“It was clearly a threat to try to steer me away from where the story was taking me: Theranos seemed to be doing very few, if any, of its revolutionary tests on actual patients. I asked the press representatives to get the other one on the phone again; I didn’t like being threatened and I wanted to hash it out with her.”
Read more here.