4/1/2007

Journalism or advocacy? Evidence or opinion?

I’ve written a new Publisher’s Note on HealthNewsReview.org, and I’m posting part of it here. Stories about Elizabeth Edwards’ breast cancer and Tony Snow’s colon cancer have led some news organizations to offer recommendations about cancer screening. Unfortunately, some of the recommendations are simply not based on evidence. On the NBC Today show on March […]

3/30/2007

Networks' Pro-Screening Ethusiasm

Stories about Elizabeth Edwards’ breast cancer and Tony Snow’s colon cancer have led some news organizations to offer recommendations about cancer screening. Unfortunately, some of the recommendations are simply not based on evidence. On the NBC Today show on March 28, Matt Lauer said the Edwards and Snow cases put “a huge spotlight on the […]

3/30/2007

The Limitations of Drug Testing in Animals

A Wall Street Journal story today looks at an important question in science, in policy-making, and in journalism: “What do the results of animal studies really tell us about humans? That question still puzzles researchers even though guinea pigs, lab rats and their brethren have long been part of experiments.” Two examples from the story: […]

3/29/2007

Whatever happened to the miracle obesity pill?

Earlier this week, I pointed out how – on one day – the Wall Street Journal appeared to favor positive drug news out of the American College of Cardiology meeting more than negative drug news. But day in and day out, the WSJ is one of the few news organizations to put negative drug news […]

3/27/2007

Important omissions in heart & cancer stories

Very preliminary findings from stem cell research got a lot of news coverage this week. Probably because there were local researchers involved, the Star Tribune put the story on the front page of Monday’s paper. They reported: An experimental treatment using adult stem cells was able to limit heart damage and improve the quality of […]

2 3/26/2007

Negative drug news doesn't get the same play as positive

You’re seeing lots of cardiovascular news this week because the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology is going on in New Orleans. I applaud the health news coverage of the Wall Street Journal, but even their coverage shows a bias toward the positive and against negative findings. In today’s WSJ, the front page […]

3/22/2007

Lots of drug-related conflict of interest news this week

Gardiner Harris of the New York Times is all over issues about drug company influence on doctors and on the FDA this week. Today he writes: Expert advisers to the government who receive money from a drug or device maker would be barred for the first time from voting on whether to approve that company’s […]

3/19/2007

Premature talk of a cure

Many serious health journalists struggle with how to handle research stories in animals. Last night, KSTP-TV in MInneapolis-St. Paul presented a story that showed little attempt to put mouse research findings into a meaningful context. It was on Rett Syndrome, which KSTP reported was “a disorder similar to autism.” They said, “Doctors, who are testing […]

3/15/2007

TVWeek profile of HealthNewsReview.org

The magazine TV Week this week profiles my efforts with the HealthNewsReview.org website. On Friday, I’ll present data at the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference in Los Angeles on our findings from the reviews of the first 300 stories in our first 11 months of experience with the site. It’s not a pretty […]

3/14/2007

Troubling TV Health News Trends

In the February issue of Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), Trudy Lieberman writes about TV news stations accepting pre-packaged new stories created by health care behemoths such as the Cleveland Clinic or the Mayo Clinic, creating stories that are “a hybrid of news and marketing, the likes of which has spread to local TV newsrooms all […]

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