NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -

Improvement in health news grades

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Some good things are happening in health news coverage.

Of the first 12 stories reviewed in 2009 on, five have received the top five-star score.

In the three years of the project, there have never been so many highly-rated stories in such a sport span. In fact, only 13% of all 712 stories reviewed so far have received five-star scores.

Next week in a talk at the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making’s Policy & Research Forum in Washington, DC, I’ll also be presenting some new data that shows small – but I think significant – improvement on some of our criteria on which journalists have traditionally done most poorly.

This is especially significant, in my view, given the terrible times in newsrooms these days.

• bottom line pressure hurting the quality of health news.
• lack of training
• impact of layoffs and cutbacks
• shrinking news hole for health care news overall
• weakened newsrooms more vulnerable to PR and ad pressures

Many people continue to work hard every day to report health news in depth, emphasizing evidence, context and integrity. We applaud them.

At the same time, network television health news pieces continue to disappoint. Look at the thumbnail below of two recent ABC Good Morning America segments. One got zero stars, the other two.

GMA reviews.png

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