Is Coffee Bad For You? Who Knows? -- Least Of All, Science Writers

Personal-health stories abound in broadcast and print journalism, and yet these reports often focus on contradictory or just plain wrong information, asserts David H. Freedman in a long, well-thought-out piece. 

"The problem is not, as many would reflexively assume, the sloppiness of poorly trained science writers looking for sensational headlines, and ignoring scientific evidence in the process," Freedman writes.

Instead,  "personal-health journalists have fallen into a trap. Even while following what are considered the guidelines of good science reporting, they still manage to write articles that grossly mislead the public, often in ways that can lead to poor health decisions with catastrophic consequences. Blame a combination of the special nature of health advice, serious challenges in medical research, and the failure of science journalism to scrutinize the research it covers."

Read the whole story at Columbia Journalism Review » Recommend (1) Print RSS