Health News Review

HealthNewsReview.org only reviews news stories that include a claim of efficacy about:

  • Specific treatments, tests, products or procedures (A story that includes multiple claims about multiple interventions or for multiple uses may not be eligible for review because our review criteria can generally only be applied to the review of a single, specific intervention for a single, specific condition.) So the stories may be about:
    • Drugs or devices
    • Vitamins or nutritional supplements
    • Diagnostic and screening tests
    • Dietary recommendations
    • Surgical procedures
    • Psychotherapy/mental health interventions

What are the review criteria and how are they applied?

Our review criteria consist of 10 different elements that we think all health care news stories about interventions should include.  We think these criteria address the basic issues that consumers need to know in order to develop informed opinions about these interventions – and how/whether they matter in their lives.  In some cases, it may be impossible or unreasonable for a story to address some of our criteria, in which case we’ll say so in our comments.  We may rate certain such criteria as not applicable in some cases.

Each of the criteria are at least partially influenced by, and appear in, the following seminal publications:

Click here to view review criteria


Who are the reviewers?

A multi-disciplinary team of reviewers from journalism, medicine, health services research, public health and patient perspectives assesses the quality of the stories using a standardized rating system. Stories are graded and critiques are published on this website. Two or three different reviewers evaluate each story.  Hundreds of years of experience are represented on this team of expert reviewers.

Read more about our reviewers.


Which news organizations are reviewed?

News stories will be monitored each Monday through Friday in major U.S. media. We may, at any time, review any news story we see from any news organization.

As of January 5, 2015, the following are the media we will review. We will only review what we find on the websites of these news organizations.  On many days we will not be able to review all of the eligible stories that we find.  In such instances, we will decide what to review based on a number of factors, including:

  • deferring to news organizations that we have reviewed less frequently or less recently
  • deferring to stories on topics that apply to a broader population base

Each day we will review the websites of the following papers that are among the leaders in daily circulation:

  • Arizona Republic
  • Boston Globe
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Dallas Morning News
  • Denver Post
  • Houston Chronicle
  • Los Angeles Times
  • New York Times
  • Philadelphia Inquirer
  • USA Today
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post

Also checked daily:

  • National Public Radio health & science page
  • The websites of the following TV networks: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC

Wire or news services:

  • Associated Press health news
  • Bloomberg News
  • HealthDay
  • Medical News Today
  • Reuters Health

Checked regularly

  • Websites of news magazines TIME, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report
  • Vox.com
  • Slate.com
  • FiveThirtyEight.com
  • BuzzFeed.com

NOTE:

During our first 3.5 years, we reviewed ABC, CBS and NBC health news stories every day. In 2009, we decided to stop this very time-consuming process of having three reviewers apply ten standardized criteria to TV news stories because, frankly, overall the stories were not improving. We have limited resources and can’t review everything. We chose to apply our time, resources and energy to new and different media with whom we might have more impact. That does not mean we are ignoring TV health news.  In fact, since that decision in 2009 we have commented frequently on our blog about TV health news.


How is the star score determined?

Click here to see what the star score means.

You can also use our interactive chart that allows you to compare individual news organizations’ performance to the overall average of all organizations reviewed to date.


Does Health News Review give medical advice?

HealthNewsReview.org does not provide medical opinion. Nothing in our reviews should be construed as medical advice.


Is HealthNewsReview.org fair to journalists?

We understand there are many challenges to achieving accuracy, balance and completeness in health care journalism. For a reporter, there are deadlines, editors, and corporate financial pressures. We hold the bar high for quality in health care journalism because it plays a major role in educating consumers. Consumers need to be well informed to make sound choices that affect their health and well being.

We strive to give the journalist the benefit of the doubt in our review comments.  And we always try to offer constructive criticism, making suggestions whenever possible about how an approach could have been improved.



Coming by Spring 2015

We are excited to add systematic reviews of health care-related news releases, written for medical journals, drug/device and other industry representatives, hospitals, academic medical centers and others.

We’ve added new reviewers to take on this task, with a process that will be very similar to our time-honored approach with reviewing health care news stories.

We are re-designing this website, and hope to introduce the new site with this new feature by April 2015.  Stay tuned.




Story Review Search

[?]

There are multiple ways to search our reviews. You may search by keyword, news source or review rating.

  • Type in the keyword or news source the search by those criteria.
  • Type 0 - 5 star to search by review rating. ie. 3 star or 1 star



Blog Search



ToolKit



News Organizations’ Overall Grades