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Jenny Craig & too much news about journal studies

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The story on CNN.com (it apparently wasn’t done by CNN but by someone at Health.com) about the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the Jenny Craig diet did an adequate job of alerting readers to the multiple limitations of the study – so much so that you could wonder why the story was even considered newsworthy.

But it did apparently inspire one CNN staffer to write a followup piece, and to interview me about “Where’s the line between research and marketing?” And the interview also took a side trip into a brief discussion of too much coverage on journal studies. Excerpt:

“But these journal articles form a large chunk of major media coverage of health news, and that can be a problem, Schwitzer said. The disproportionate attention paid to journal articles in the media may give the public false impressions about their significance and reliability, he said. “I think we do far too many news stories about journal articles when indeed it is not an accurate, representative reflection week in, week out, of progress or lack thereof in research when we know the biases that exist.”

(I believe this is the first time I’ve appeared in a CNN story since I stopped working there 20 years ago.)

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