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Which headline tells the story?

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Here are two headlines on the same New England Journal of Medicine article this week, on a study from Johns Hopkins.

The local paper – the Baltimore Sun – had the cheerleading headline: “Hopkins study supports use of CT scan of heart.”

The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, had a quite different headline: “Heart scans sometimes fail to identify blockages, study finds.”

Granted, the Baltimore story had some strong caution, such as this quote:

“I think [the study] is overly optimistic about CT angiography,” said Dr. Steven E. Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “In the real world, as opposed to in a carefully designed study, CT angiography does not perform as well as was reported in this study.”

But the headline sets reader expectations of what is to follow. We think the WSJ outshined the Sun on this one.

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