Jeopardy update--Senior Producer responds
September 29, 2004 -- In response to the Center's campaign asking Jeopardy! to apologize to the nursing profession for implying that Nurse Practitioners do nothing more than tend to minor ailments, the show's Senior Producer/Head Writer responded promptly in a constructive letter to Truth executive director Sandy Summers. Jeopardy! is an unusually influential show which has been syndicated for 20 years and is seen by an estimated 12 million viewers daily. We applaud the show for acknowledging our concerns and initiating a plan to remedy the damage done.
The letter reads:
Dear Ms. Summers,
I am responding to your letter about our mention of Nurse Practitioners. Sometimes the simplification needed to compress information into our clues leads to an impression that we did not intend; and we certainly had no intention of demeaning the work of NPs, or furthering damaging images of them. We take seriously both the important work of nurses and the media's role in making the public aware of that work.
At some future date, we will air another clue that will define the work of these health care professionals more fully and fairly. We will keep your contact information on file and notify you when that clue is scheduled to air. We also hope to take you up on your offer to act as a resource for other clues about health care.
Senior Producer, Jeopardy!
This response, while not quite an apology, seems to reflect a recognition that mass media accounts of nursing do matter, and a willingness to accept responsibility for improving them. Too often, powerful Hollywood entities ignore nurses, or blithely dismiss our concerns about their misportrayals, saying they're only about "entertainment" or must be allowed "dramatic license."
And consistent with Mr. Johnson's promises in the letter, a writer for the show called the Center on September 29 to gather information to prepare a question for the show. The information was fairly obscure, so we are sure it must be for a "Double Jeopardy" question! We look forward to working with Jeopardy! in creating questions on health and nursing issues in the future. We will notify our readers through our news alerts if we hear when the question will be aired.
Jeopardy!'s web site is at www.jeopardy.com