Note to our followers: Due to a lack of sufficient funding, HealthNewsReview.org will cease daily publication of new content at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. If you wish to donate, your gift might help keep the site available to the public for a few more years, by defraying costs of web hosting and maintenance. All of our 6,000+ published articles contain lessons to help people improve their critical thinking about health care. Read more about our change in status. And here's how to make a donation.
2/4/2007

CNN's "House Call" Makes Some Bad Calls

You get a half hour on an international news network to report on health news and you use it to: 1. Tell people if you want to avoid the flu, “try to avoid getting too close to sick people.” 2. Feature a doctor who lost 70 pounds by using lots of hot sauce, even though […]

1/28/2007

Too Brief To Matter

It doesn’t take one thousand words to write an excellent story.  We’ve given our top five-star scores to some stories that used only 500 or so words.  One recent example:  “Less acid, brittler hips? Some heartburn drugs may be behind an increase in fractures,” 566-word story by Los Angeles Times.  But stories in the 100-300 […]

1/17/2007

Sign of the times at the Star Tribune?

I have not written about the surprise December 26 sale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune to Avista Capital Partners. Clearly it was another sign of tough economic times in the newspaper industry. Today’s health section of the paper may be another sign of a paper limping through its routine. It’s a weekly health section and […]

12/22/2006

Lump of coal for heart stocking story

Two years ago, I wrote about how the Minneapolis Star Tribune had acted like a cheerleader on behalf of a local company whose product was a mesh-like sock to go around the heart in hopes of combating heart failure. Over two straight days, the paper reported on the company’s trial results with the sock. The […]

12/18/2006

Absolute vs. relative risk: an overlooked statistic

I teach my classes – even undergrads – that if I could change just one thing about the way in which research news is communicated to the public – for the sake of public understanding – it would be to include absolute risk/benefit data in each story or each message – not just relative risk/benefit […]

12/16/2006

Trying to serve two masters in health journalism

Competition among news organizations is a good thing. Readers and viewers already get far too many reports that are regurgitated in similar fashion from the same source. But big media companies increasingly are going in the other direction: hiring big media names to serve two masters simultaneously. The latest is CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who, […]

12/11/2006

Scores on Eight Lung Cancer Screening Stories

In the last Publisher’s Note, I wrote about our reviews of six stories by six different news organizations on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine about CAT scan screening for lung cancer in smokers. After that Note was published, we posted two more reviews of other stories on that study. U.S. […]

11/21/2006

USA Today Weekend special "breakthrough" edition

The HealthBehaviorBlog takes a poke at the most recent USA Today Weekend edition, which offers “13 scientific breakthroughs that could change everything” in medical care. The blog post reads: “Although the newspaper offers a blithe caveat that “there’s no guarantee, of course,” nine of the 13 magic bullets in the article were basically ads for […]

11/18/2006

NBC reporter involvement/editorializing on lung scans

NBC news correspondent Mike Taibbi says he quit smoking after ABC’s Peter Jennings died of lung cancer. Now Taibbi is telling his story on the air. Included in that story is Taibbi having a CT scan. His main source is Dr. Claudia Henschke, who recently promoted the benefits of lung CT scanning with a new […]

11/16/2006

Comparing Different Media on the Same Story

We’re making a new effort to compare coverage by different news organizations on the same story. For journalists and for consumers, we think this comparison will be interesting and insightful. For example, we’ve posted reviews of six stories by six different news organizations (three print, three broadcast) on a study published in the New England […]

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Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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