Note to our followers: Our nearly 13-year run of daily publication of new content on HealthNewsReview.org came to a close at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. But all of the 6,000+ articles we have published contain lessons to help you improve your critical thinking about health care interventions. And those will be still be alive on the site for a couple of years.
5/21/2020

Avoid single patient, single source COVID-19 stories – especially on “cures”

This is a lesson for news readers from Fargo to Duluth to Toronto and places in between and beyond.  The lesson is that you can’t jump to conclusions based on news stories about a single patient, or about a single researcher’s belief in a cure. Single anecdote stories There simply isn’t much you can say […]

5/20/2020

Journalism in pandemic: online training for thousands of international journalists

When I taught media ethics in the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication, I’d be thrilled to teach in an auditorium filled with 150 students. This week, I spoke to an online course that has more than 7,000 international journalists enrolled from more than 150 countries. That’s what I’ve been told by […]

5/19/2020

Warning: early vaccine trial results don’t always stand test of time

“The drugmaker Moderna said on Monday that the first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in people appeared to be safe and able to stimulate an immune response against the virus.” That’s what an early New York Times story reported yesterday. Erick Turner, MD, reacted on Twitter: Hey, didn’t you hear? The vaccine “appears to be […]

5/7/2020

Flubs and flaws in New York Times stories on llamas and coffee

I’ve written it and said it before: I applaud most of the New York Times pandemic-era news coverage. But I continue to see head-scratching lapses in editorial approach and judgment – flaws that could be so easily corrected with a bit more caution and care. Hoping llamas will become coronavirus heroes is a Times story […]

5/5/2020

Mutant coronavirus story upsets scientists about preprint journalism

This is the way many of my days begin these days, being blasted out of my chair by smart skepticism and criticism on coronavirus issues on social media.  Today’s lift-off came from a virology researcher at Cornell: This LATimes article is INFURIATING. So much misinformation based on just that preprint. They took quotes from the […]

5/5/2020

Thanks for missing HealthNewsReview.org, but it’s still here

I am touched, and I chuckle, when an occasional follower on Twitter writes, “Oh, how I miss HealthNewsReview.org!” Or I’ll read, “We need HealthNewsReview.org now more than ever.” The fact is that these readers are usually reacting to something just published on HealthNewsReview.org, which is still alive. I think I know, though, what followers mean […]

5/3/2020

The start of a study is often not newsworthy – even when you bring God into it

On the day a study begins, there isn’t much you can say about it. There is no evidence. There is a hypothesis. You could talk about the protocol – how the study will be done. You can’t jump to any conclusions. This article questions why news organizations report on the first day of a study. […]

4/30/2020

What the public didn’t hear about the NIH remdesivir trial

This will not be an article that questions the medical evidence being discussed.  It will focus solely on how the message was communicated to a global audience. I believe that when the results of the NIH-sponsored remdesivir trial – Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT), sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – are […]

4/29/2020

The COVID-19 research news rollercoaster is running again: STAT News + Gilead’s remdesivir

This morning, STAT News reported: The story begins:  A government-run study of Gilead’s remdesivir, perhaps the most closely watched experimental drug to treat the novel coronavirus, showed that the medicine is effective against Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Gilead made the announcement in a statement Wednesday, stating: “We understand that the trial has […]

4/23/2020

Shining a light on super-spreaders of coronavirus misinformation

NewsGuard calls itself “The Internet Trust Tool.”  And there may have never been a better time to help consumers learn whom to trust than the COVID-19 pandemic era. (You can read more about NewsGuard’s operating model on their site, or in an article one of their staffers published on STAT.) NewsGuard is a browser extension that […]

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