NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - https://archive.org/web/.

What you can do to help improve the public dialogue about health care

Kevin Lomangino is the managing editor of HealthNewsReview.org. He tweets as @Klomangino.

As the only U.S. organization that systematically evaluates media messages about health care every day, we have a lot on our plate at HealthNewsReview.org.

In 10.5 years, we have published 5,000 articles, including 2,300 news story reviews and 300 reviews of PR news releases.

Whether it’s incomplete news coverage on statins or a university news release making unfounded claims about its chocolate milk product for concussions, the barrage of media misinformation – the assault on the public dialogue about health care – never stops.  And there is no other project that does what we do – every day – to help people sharpen their critical thinking and to analyze claims about health care interventions.  This is a rubber-meets-the-road health care reform initiative, from the ground up. Help citizens/consumers/patients think about issues more completely and they’ll make better decisions. Then we might stand a chance of effecting truly meaningful health care reform.

At this time of year, we want to acknowledge the people and organizations who make our work possible. It’s an amazing network of friends and contributors who’ve come together with one goal in mind: improving the public dialogue about health care.

Give buttonWhy we need your help now

With political change on the horizon and an uncertain health care forecast ahead, our mission is more relevant than ever and we look forward to fulfilling it more vigorously than ever — with help from readers and supporters like you.

We’re a small organization. We don’t accept advertising.  We don’t take money from drug companies or medical device makers.

If you value our work, please take a moment to contribute what you can to keep it going. Every dollar you give helps us to shine a brighter light on the increasingly murky corners of health care and the media landscape. And it will help people – news consumers and health care consumers  – many of them desperate for unbiased, quality information — to make better decisions about their care.

We send our heartfelt thanks to people who support our mission in different ways – with a few groupings listed here in no particular order.

Journalists and communications professionals

It’s never easy to take criticism, but we consistently find that journalists and PR writers are open to our constructive comments and appreciative of the effort that we put into them. It’s gratifying to know that our work is having an impact as demonstrated by this small sampling of the many comments we’ve received since January 2016:

  • I’m glad to see you pay attention to press releases, it validates that you take them seriously. One of the first things I did was to share your review with the scientist who led the study I wrote about. I noted that he must be accustomed to peer review, much more so than I am. – Communications staff member at a children’s hospital
  • Thank you for alerting me to the review of our press release. While I do not agree with all of your assessments, I think overall you have provided a very fair and thoughtful review of the release.  In fact, I have shared the review with our entire media team here at [a major academic medical center] as a learning tool.  I’m sure all of us here will get some helpful pointers. Nice job! – Senior media relations director at a major teaching hospital
  • I have forwarded the review onto some key people here – in hopes that it will add to my argument that we need a serious discussion about the implications of the research in terms of [our organization’s] identity/reputation – in light of the real promise that the research holds for folks desperate to do something to prevent the disease. I remain an ardent fan of your organization. Keep up the good work.  – Communications staff member at a research institute
  • In a meeting with my editor today, we were debriefing about this article and last week’s work. She said, “I hope we get 5 stars from HealthNewsReview.” So thank you! You made our week, the work you do is so important holding us to account, and these reviews really do matter to us.  – Journalist at a major news organization
  • You serve as kind of an ethical mirror to journalists and to everyone in the country and I only wish there would be more enterprises like yours and that people would listen. Then their eyes would be open when they hear another promise of ‘a great therapy’ or when they can’t tell the difference between advertising and real science. – Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Harding Center for Risk Literacy, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
 Our reviewers, contributors, and tipsters

Staying on top of the health news beat is an undertaking that is far too big for our small team of 4 full-time and 2 part-time staff members. Fortunately, we benefit from the consistent assistance, much of it pro bono – from more than 50 regular reviewers representing varied fields of expertise – including journalists, communications professionals, physicians, PhD health professionals, and trained patient advocates. Many more occasional contributors feed us regularly with guest posts, quotable reactions, and tips about what they’re seeing in health care and/or in the media. Our smart readership is one of our greatest assets, and we always welcome and encourage your insights on what we should be covering and what we can do better.

The University of Minnesota   

We’re proud to call the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health our home. It’s an institution that shares our commitment to improving how health and health care information is communicated to the public. Special thanks to Dean John Finnegan for his support of our project.

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation

They are last on this list but first in our hearts. Less than two short years ago, this project was dead in the water and was running out of prospects for revitalization. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation took a bet on us and it is the primary reason we’re still in business today.  As we get ready to close the books on the second year of our initial LJAF grant, we are on track to surpass our previous yearly record for traffic by more than 60%. And we have many plans for 2017 that their continued funding will make possible. Look for exciting announcements on that front soon.

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Comments (5)

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

Tio

November 29, 2016 at 7:46 am

Your work is very important and considering how messed up today’s news are, you are even more necessary. I wanted to make a small donation but you don’t accept Paypal and it is a bit uncomfortable to use my credit card for this. I recommend you accept PayPal as well. Cheers!

    Kevin Lomangino

    November 29, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Tio,

    Thanks for your inquiry. Unfortunately our systems are not set up to accept PayPal at this time, but I can assure you that the University giving system’s security is set to the highest level. You are also welcome to mail a gift using this form: http://give.umn.edu/sites/give.umn.edu/files/UMF_GiftForm_09-30-14_interactive.pdf

      Tio

      November 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Kevin. It si not about trust, but about the easiness of doing this. Paypal is much easier to use online. And with paypal.me you can set up a donation in minutes. http://paypal.me/ – please consider that because the more options people have, the more engaged they will be and motivated to donate.

Tio

November 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm

I still made a small donation, but as I said I recommend you add Paypal as well – is easier to donate through it. By the way you are one of the sources of news that we use for our automatic curated news website https://www.tromsite.com/news – we try to curate ‘good’ news because today’s news are awful…thank you for all of your efforts! I wish there were more organizations like yours.

    Kevin Lomangino

    November 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for the donation and the plug. We’ve forwarded your comments up the chain here at the University, which manages the fundraising page. Your support is very much appreciated.

    Kevin Lomangino
    Managing Editor