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2 12/30/2007

Bothered by "breakthroughs"

I have published the following commentary on the HealthNewsReview.org website. TIME magazine, like many publications, loves year-end lists. Its “Top Ten Medical Breakthroughs of 2007” list offers brief capsules on developments that someone at TIME decided were in the top ten and also that someone decided qualified as breakthroughs. The list: Circumcision can prevent HIV […]

12/26/2007

Does the language of a story match the evidence?

Mark Zweig and Emily DeVoto authored a thoughtful piece on how journalists may imply cause-and-effect in reporting on research, when the study design didn’t really establish cause-and-effect. Examples: Eating fish may help preserve eyesight in older people. The authors calculated that participants who did 75 minutes a day of activities… lowered their risk of dying […]

12/20/2007

Does Your Language Fit The Evidence?

The following is a guest column by Mark Zweig and Emily DeVoto, two people who have thought a lot about how reporters cover medical research.   A health writer’s first attempt at expressing results from a new observational study read, “Frequent fish consumption was associated with a 50% reduction in the relative risk of dying […]

12/2/2007

Goodbye, Columbus TV health news credibility

Nothing new here at all – just the latest episode of a local community discovering that its glorified local health news is often just paid-for advertising. The Other Paper of Columbus, Ohio unveils how Ohio State University Medical Center pays one station almost $100,000 a year to air “Breakthroughs in Medicine” segments in the newscast, […]

11/30/2007

"The Christmas miracle of antioxidants"

Ben Goldacre, a British physician and writer, makes a prediction in this week’s BMJ (subscription required for full article access): “I’d like to make a sage prediction, seeing as it’s early December. One of the joys of watching bad science coverage in the media—as I have done for four years now—is that you start to […]

11/21/2007

Trying to reach editors to improve health journalism

We may be preaching to the choir with many of our attempts to improve health journalism if we only reach reporters. The editors to whom they report may be the most important group to reach to effect change. With that goal, I’m grateful that The American Editor, a publication of the American Society of Newspaper […]

11/20/2007

TV sweeps period contrived controversy

We’re in the middle of the November TV ratings/sweeps period. TV stations at these times often suddenly like to show a great interest in health care stories because their consultants tell them that viewers want health care news. (Why they don’t give it this attention the rest of the year is unknown.) But health care […]

11/13/2007

The Whole Story

Minnesota Medicine this month has a good summary of our work to date with HealthNewsReview.org.

11/8/2007

News Releases & Scientific Meetings: A Guest Editor Column

Here’s a guest editor column from one of our reviewers, Harry DeMonaco,  a Senior Clinical Associate in the Decision Support and Quality Management Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital.   News coverage of the recent American Heart Association Scientific Sessions (November 4 – 7) raises new questions about how journalists cover scientific meetings. On Monday […]

10/24/2007

How Four Stories Fared in Covering Alzheimer's Blood Test Study

Last week many news organizations reported on research to find a blood test to help identify Alzheimer’s disease.  We reviewed four stories on that research: • San Francisco Chronicle • ABC’s Good Morning America  • ABC Evening News • CBS Evening News  All four stories were rated as unsatisfactory for discussing the quality of the […]

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