Why change the name of the blog?

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I don’t believe in change for the sake of change.

I’ve been blogging for more than 7 years now, and my blog has gathered quite a following, with high rankings on Wikio.com and Technorati, for example. One competition named ours the “Best Medical Blog of 2009.”

But there were good reasons for changing the name of my blog from “Gary Schwitzer’s HealthNewsReview Blog” to “Health News Watchdog.”

  1. The old title was too long.
  2. The new title is what everyone seems to call us anyway. Countless news stories refer to our work as a “watchdog” project.
  3. A survey last year showed that some users didn’t differentiate between the HealthNewsReview.org team reviews (multiple reviewers, objective, systematic, criteria-driven) and the blog (often more subjective, opinionated – like most blogs). Having “HealthNewsReview” in the name of the blog may have led to that confusion.
  4. Having my name in the name of the blog may have confused some into thinking that I was the only one who reviewed stories on the site. In fact, I lead a terrific team of 28 – including 19 clinicians and/or researchers, 7 journalists and 2 breast cancer survivors trained in how to evaluate evidence in the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD workshops. I could not go on risking the possible oversight of the tremendous contributions of these reviewers. The blog is mine (although, increasingly, I am posting guest columns by a number of other contributors), but the reviews are a team effort. So I felt the old blog name was potentially misleading.


I held a logo contest on the interesting 99 Designs website, and, after more than 100 entries by a dozen designers, chose the following.  Hope you like it.  The mascot is not supposed to look mean or rabid, just watchful and dedicated.  That’s the intent.




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Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.


November 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

Bravo, Gary! The new site looks terrific! Love the watchdog!

Dan Henkel

November 30, 2011 at 9:08 am


Love the new site! HNR has always been an important service, but the new site has improved functionality and a clean look. Most important, it makes it clear who’s reviewing what and who those reviewers are. Congratulations on what you’ve achieved, and many thanks for your leadership in the quest for improving health communications.

Susan Fitzgerald

November 30, 2011 at 11:00 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you for having dark type on white background! The other changes are great, too.

What you’ve described here about the changes offers an excellent example of transparency, self-examination and user responsiveness. Five stars!

Claudia Collucci

November 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Congratulations, Gary. The new site is great! Thanks for this important service.

Gregory D. Pawelski

November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I have only one question. HealthNewsReview vs Health News Watchdog. The old title was too long? It’s nice to have all the applets gone. Took up a lot of power loading up the page.

    Gary Schwitzer

    November 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm


    The main site’s name has not changed: HealthNewsReview.org.

    It’s the blog within the site for which the name has changed.

    It was: Gary Schwitzer’s HealthNewsReview Blog.

    It’s now: Health News Watchdog.

    Thanks for your continued interest.

Meg Bowen

December 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

The design is beautiful and well thought out. The site is ever-so-easy to navigate, and I LOVE the new logo…very cool. Great job and keep up the good work, you are making a difference!