Ironically, the NPR ombudsman just wrote about concerns that NPR sometimes invites reporters from other news organizations to talk on the air about a story they got that NPR didn’t. In this case, why does NPR need to rely on a four-day old Reuters story in order to get a second opinion? Couldn’t they make a call and get their own interview?
With the example the NPR ombudsman raised, she wrote: "NPR has recently beefed up its newscasts, staffed an investigative unit and is pouring money into its digital operations. All these are signs of a strong news organization. But if NPR wants to be considered one of the nation’s top-flight news organizations, it should be more judicious." Doesn’t that apply here as well?
The story said that "skipping diagnostic nerve blocks can save $10,000 in medical costs."
No quantification of potential benefits. Only a vague, borrowed (from Reuters) reference to "the value of the diagnostic tests" and an anecdote from the researcher supposedly supporting the case that they can be skipped.
No quantification of harms incurred or avoided.
No evaluation of the quality of the evidence – too short a synopsis for that. So we don’t really get a sense of how the study was done.
No disease-mongering. The story was about pinpointing causes of low back pain – a condition as broad as the ocean.
The NPR news org can’t be given credit for eliciting an independent source – only for "borrowing" what Reuters reported. Why not get your own source?
No discussion of alternatives – not for diagnostic testing nor for treatment of the underlying back pain.
The story is clear that nerve blocks are part of "a common diagnostic technique."
Not applicable. No claims of novelty made. And none needed to be.
Not applicable. We can’t be sure if the story relied on a news release, but we know it relied at least partially on a Reuters story. Should this warrant an unsatisfactory score here? Maybe.