Health News Review is at it again. This media journalism watchdog site is the go-to resource when you’re scratching your head wondering if that too-good-to-be-true medical miracle news flash is actually true or not. Using a detailed 5-star scoring system for evaluating print or web articles written about health ssues, HNR (‘Holding Health & Medical Journalism Accountable’) offers independent expert reviews of news stories.
For instance, let’s look at two examples of its best rated (five stars for this piece from the New York Times) and the worst (one star for Health Day) from this month’s Health News Review:
Under-Skin Defibrillators Seen Closer to Reality
New York Times
Score: 5 out of 5 stars
This story on a new type of implantable heart defibrillator is a couple of hundred words longer than the other story on the same research that we reviewed. The additional length is put to good use.
Impotence Drugs May Aid Brain Tumor Treatment
Score: 1 out of 5 stars
HealthDay rewrites a news release – and US News & World Report, the Arizona Republic‘s website, Yahoo and other news organizations pick it up and republish it. Research is on mice only. No context or caveats given.
See also: Medical Miracle Breakthrough? Not so fast! or Media Journalism Watchdog Slams Cardiac Polypill News Hype, about Health News Review’s Canadian counterpart, Media Doctor Canada.