Is this what a local newspaper’s health & wellness page should be?

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I get excited when I see a newspaper – like my local Star Tribune – add a science page, which they did recently.  And I didn’t get terribly upset that none of the entries on that science page were locally produced. Better than nothing, I thought.  No harm.  Maybe it’ll improve science literacy and interest in science somewhat in some readers.

Then yesterday’s Sunday Star Tribune splashes this Health + Wellness page at me.  And 80% of the page is devoted to a story lifted from the Hackensack, NJ paper, The Record.   Nothing against Hackensack or The Record.  But this story was about heart artery catheterization done through the wrist – “an approach European physicians have used for years.”


And now it’s being done in New Jersey.  And the NJ story ends with a NJ doc predicting: “I think eventually 90 percent of patients will be able to have this.”

But I don’t live in New Jersey.  I live in Minnesota.  And the Star Tribune is a Minnesota paper.


This is what we call shovelware.  Shovel anything in to create the look of a specialized health/medicine page….heck, even call it a “wellness” page because that’s hot.

As a further sign of what an orphaned entity this sorry little not-so-special page was, it was in the VARIETY section (!?!), tucked in between features on GIRL POWER!….MAKING US LAUGH IN MINNESOTA…something called THE JUNK DRAWER…and a movie review of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Now that’s where I’d think to look for a health/wellness page featuring a story about interventional cardiology!

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Comments (4)

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July 16, 2012 at 10:16 am

Great points. I’m going through learning the hard way that just because one tells a health advocacy story that doesn’t mean the reporter is going to get the story right. It’s super frustrating — particularly given that I am a reporter.

Susan Fitzgerald

July 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

What can we expect? Newsrooms have been gutted. They still haven’t figured out a paying business model. My hometown paper – the state’s paper of record – is starting to run stories written by freelancers with published history of being advocates for or against the very topics of their story, and the paper is flogging this as a “news network.” Heaven help us!