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Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the Quality of Heatlh Care Journalism

A survey of members of the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) reaches the following conclusions [U of Minnesota professor authors report the state of health care journalism] ....
  • Ninety-four percent of survey respondents say the bottom line pressure in media organizations is seriously hurting the quality of news coverage of health care issues
  • Forty percent of staff reporters in the survey say the number of health reporters at their organization has gone down since they've been there, and 11 percent say they personally have been laid off over the past few years due to downsizing.
  • Thirty-nine percent of respondents who are still in the business believe it is at least somewhat likely that their position will be eliminated in the next few years
  • Nearly nine in ten (88 percent) survey respondents think health care coverage leans too much toward short "quick hit" stories, and two-thirds (64 percent) say the trend toward shorter stories has gotten worse in the past few years
  • A majority of respondents (52 percent) say there is too much coverage of consumer or lifestyle health, and too little of health policy (70 percent), health care quality (70 percent) and health disparities (69 percent)
So, the quality of health care journalism has declined. This isn't earth shattering news.

I bet that 100% of health care journalists will say that it's not their fault.1

"Real" science journalists are different. Most of them say they are doing a terrific job and the bad science reporting is all due to other journalists writing about science.

1. Of course it's not all their fault but when a bad health care article gets published you can't blame it all on the editors.

1 comment :

  1. Check out Ben Goldacre's (Bad Science) take on health journalism here here.