B – Good and bad medical journalism

Cassels A. 2007. The media-medicine mix: quality concerns in medical reporting. Open Medicine (1) 1: 52-54

Many people hear about medical discoveries for the first time through popular media. (Newspapers, magazines, television and the Internet). Good medical journalism provides accurate, balanced reports and important contextual information, helps to set appropriate expectations on the part of consumers, informs the larger medical community, and thus arguably provides a vital public service. By the same token, poor medical journalism can exaggerate or oversimplify an issue, unnecessarily inflating expectations of patients and providers and putting increasing strain on the physician–patient relationship.
A major and sustained improvement in reporting standards needs to start with improving the education of journalists and the public on what qualities to look for in news reports about new treatments. Read the article to find more critical suggestions and useful links.