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 - https://archive.org/web/.

Press releases from academic medical centers – continued

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A healthy online discussion has begun over the Woloshin-Schwartz paper, published in last week’s Annals of Internal Medicine, that concluded: “Press releases from academic medical centers often promote research that has uncertain relevance to human health and do not provide key facts or acknowledge important limitations.”

On the Columbia Journalism Review website, Earle Holland – assistant vice president for research communications at Ohio State University – scrutinizes that paper and news coverage thereof. And, in a followup comment, he gives a plug for our work, writing:

“The lamentation that news “releases are distributed directly to the public via the web, and the news spreads without any independent assessment” is easily fixed, if it is a concern at all. Journalists need to do a better job of evaluating the studies. A bit of time spent at Gary Schwitzer’s great website, HealthNewsReview.org offers a great primer on what’s good and bad about ongoing medical/biomedical reporting.”

Read all of Holland’s article. This is an important topic for discussion by those who care about the dissemination of health, medical and research news.

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