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Single report of roller coaster ear problem gets national news coverage

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The Los Angeles Times, WebMD and the CBS Early Show were among the news organizations that reported a single case report of a young man who had ear problems after a roller coaster ride. They called it “a study.” That’s a bit of a stretch. It was based on a talk given at a scientific meeting. Look how CBS gave national network airtime and barely mentioned that this was in just one man.

A news release from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where the reporting otolaryngologist works, points out:

“This was an unusual situation, where the rider turned his head at just the right time to experience the full force of acceleration against his eardrum,” says the doctor in the news release. “It would be highly unlikely to do this multiple times in a row, but roller coaster riders should be aware of what they can do to prevent barotrauma from occurring.”

Unusual or unlikely or not, issue a news release and – VOILA – instant national news coverage.

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