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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.”

Interesting.

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.

AND THERE ISN’T ONE WORD IN HERE ABOUT WHETHER ANYONE IS DOING THIS IN MINNESOTA1

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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AfternoonNapper

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!