Health News Review
  • Jul 13 2014

    Journalists jump at chance to say “fart” in a story; botch what study & news release said

    This is like the old game of telephone. Communicate a message from person to person to person and watch how the original message disintegrates. The message in question started as a basic research paper in the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications – entitled: The synthesis and functional evaluation of a mitochondria-targeted hydrogen sulfide donor, (10-oxo-10-(4-(3-thioxo-3H-1,2-dithiol-5-yl)phenoxy)decyl)triphenylphosphonium bromide [...]

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  • Apr 10 2014

    Last remaining U.S. press council closes next month

    On Poynter.org, Craig Silverman writes about the end next month of the Washington News Council, the last such body to conduct independent reviews of consumer complaints about news coverage. Excerpts: “Who can oversee ethics on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms?” (John Hamer, who co-founded the WNC and serves as [...]

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  • Feb 19 2014

    Health/science news criticism: “nothing at stake here except the survival of credible journalism”

    Paul Raeburn of the Knight Science Journalism Tracker wrote: The Washington Post announced Tuesday that it will stop reprinting university and other press releases in its Health & Science section following the disclosure of the practice by the Knight Science Journalism Tracker last Friday. The fact that a blogger like Raeburn had to be the [...]

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  • Jan 7 2014

    The passing of TIME and of firewalls between editorial & business sides

    Andrew Sullivan called it “Journalism’s Surrender” on his blog. “The surrender of journalism to advertizing and public relations – not alliance with, but surrender to – was the biggest media story of 2013 that the media almost didn’t cover at all. But it’s right there in black and white, if buried on the slowest news [...]

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  • Jan 5 2014

    Journalists: don’t use the term “massive” heart attack if you don’t know what you’re talking about

    A popular ex-Minneapolis mayor, 58-year old R.T. Rybak, had just left office last week. Then, yesterday, a local hospital announced: “Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak came to the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Emergency Department about 1 p.m. today by ambulance complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains after cross-country skiing 7.7 miles in Theodore Wirth [...]

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  • Dec 13 2013

    Doing an autopsy on a feel-good local TV health news story…and the harms therein

    On the Skeptic Ink website, William London, EdD, MPH, a public health professor at California State University, Los Angeles, writes: “On July 12, 2013, I came upon a video recording and transcript of a typical feel-good local news feature: Local doctor battles cancer through natural healing. It appeared on KGET, the NBC affiliate station in [...]

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  • Oct 16 2013

    Atlanta TV station has newsmen promoting prostate cancer screening

    We interrupt breast cancer awareness month messages to bring you some prostate cancer awareness news. After we wrote about problems with a Buffalo prostate cancer screening promotion, reader Ken Leebow of Atlanta wrote to me about what the NBC station in Atlanta has been doing. What is particularly problematic in this campaign is that journalists [...]

    4 Comments
  • Oct 16 2013

    Journalists addicted to “Oreos as addictive as cocaine” news release

    Vapid news filling the news void.  And when you read the stories, they are strikingly, mindlessly identical.  40 and counting on a web search by 8 a.m. Central time today. “Do you sometimes feel like you’re addicted to Oreos? Well, that might not be as crazy as it seems,” reports a St. Louis TV station. [...]

    2 Comments
  • Sep 18 2013

    Coach’s sideline seizures lead to newspaper criticism, public firestorm of reaction

    If you don’t live in Minnesota and you don’t follow college football, you may not have heard about this continuing controversy. University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill has had several epileptic seizures on the sidelines during games in recent years.  He had his third in three years last weekend. The coach declined to discuss [...]

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  • Sep 12 2013

    Let me count the ways I’m troubled by this NBC News.com “cookies & cancer” story

    The story came to my attention when I saw Twitter comments such as “How not to communicate about cancer risk factors.  Oy.” That was in reference to an NBC Today Health website piece entitled, “Drop the cookie:  Sweet, starchy foods ‘probably’ cause women’s cancer.“  It was based on the report, whose cover page appears at [...]

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