"Baked Kolata, Hold the Caveats"

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There’€™s a thoughtful news criticism piece on the CJR Daily website. It€’s headlined, “A Heaping Serving of Baked Kolata, Hold the Caveats.”

It questions why the New York Times put on its front page Gina Kolata’€™s story on a study questioning the impact of low-fat diets on postmenopausal women. Meantime, the piece explains that the Wall Street Journal put the story “€œdeep, deep, deep inside the paper. Specifically, under a one-column headline on page D5. And even though the Journal‘s article about the federal study was less than half as long as the Times‘ piece, it managed to bring to the topic twice the skepticism.”

The criticism concludes: “€œwhat a paper such as the Times chooses to include on its front page is at least as important as what it excludes. On this one, we recommend a little less Kolata in the diet, and a few more caveats.”

Veteran health journalists have not forgotten the Kolata page one hype of a “€œcancer cure” in 1998. For that background, see another Columbia Journalism Review piece. It provides one more piece for the archives of questionable editing at the Times (Judith Miller? Jayson Blair?).

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