Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Health care journalism
A WebMD news release last week announced that “WebMD is the First Choice for Consumers and Physicians Seeking Information on the Top Health and Wellness Topics.” The release went on to state that:
WebMD attracted the most visitors of any health information site in September and is again number one in page views in the health category.
That may be so, but our independent analysis of the quality of WebMD health news coverage does not put WebMD news at the top of the quality list. In fact, it’s almost at the bottom of our list. Granted, there are other types of content that WebMD delivers, and we only evaluate news stories. But the interactive chart below – available to anyone on our site – shows that WebMD is below the average of all the news sources we’ve reviewed in the past 6.5 years.
WebMD’s average score of 2.78 stars (out of a possible 5) is lower than the 6.5 year average across 1800+ stories of 3.06 stars.
Rankings for visits and page views are good to know if you’re an advertiser. It might not be a good measure of quality of news coverage. We’re not picking on WebMD. But if you’re going to make claims about rankings, you have to be ready to have those claims scrutinized.
Here is a quick update on some other average star score grades of other news organizations:
|News source||Average star score (out of possible 5)|
|Associated Press (n=247)||3.59|
|Los Angeles Times (n=140)||3.51|
|New York Times (n=124)||3.47|
|USA Today (n=56)||3.43|
|Wall Street Journal (n=106)||3.4|
|Washington Post (n=43)||3.23|
|Chicago Tribune (n=26)||3.08|
|All 1,813 stories reviewed over 6.5 years||3.06 OVERALL AVERAGE|
A few notes about these “scores” –