This story on revised guidelines for cervical cancer screening puts them in medical and political context. It does an adequate job of describing the new guidelines themselves. It is well sourced.
But the story fails the reader in two important ways:
But it falls short in broader terms. When controversial new guidelines are proposed, a reader reasonably wants to know what the guidelines are based on, how they might apply to them, and what the risks of getting the screening–or not getting it–are. This story doesn’t discuss those issues.
The story quotes two sources who dispute the notion that the guidelines are motivated by a desire to save money.
Unfortunately, it never says how much money the test costs–or whether applying the new guidelines would cost or save money.
The story fails to quantify the benefits or risks of screening.
The story describes in paragraph two the potential harms of over-screening–that the testing led to stress, anxiety and some unnecessary treatments.
This point is emphasized by a quote in the following paragraph.
In the last paragraph, the story briefly describes the epidemiological evidence upon which the guidelines are based.
But it’s too little too late. The reader doesn’t know what data the panel used to change the testing guidelines.
The story does nothing to exaggerate the prevalence or severity of cervical cancer.
Sourcing is excellent. Sources include:
The story describes the new guidelines in layman’s terms, and briefly describes the old ones. It makes it difficult for the reader to find and digest this information, however.
It should have indicated the risks of not getting screened at all.
The availability of Pap testing is assumed.
The novelty of cervical cancer screening is not in question in this story.
The story does not draw from any of the press releases associated with the guidelines’ release.