Specialist health journalists write better news stories

September 14, 2010

David Henry from the University of Toronto and colleagues analysed Australian news stories over a five-year period, and examined whether experienced specialist health reporters write better stories than other categories of journalists. They found that it does matter who writes news stories that cover the benefits and harms of health care interventions: stories written by specialist health journalists working for a single media outlet were of higher quality than those written by less experienced writers. The authors say their findings are important because "this source of health literacy is currently under pressure as falling revenues threaten the future of the traditional media."
Funding: Media Doctor Australia has received funding over the past three years from the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors of this paper have acted as reviewers for Media Doctor, rating news articles featured on the Media Doctor Web site (http://www.mediadoctor.org.au/).

Citation: Wilson A, Robertson J, McElduff P, Jones A, Henry D (2010) Does It Matter Who Writes Medical News Stories? PLoS Med 7(9): e1000323. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000323



PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-07-09-henry.pdf


David Henry
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5


Related Health Literacy Articles from Brightsurf:

Study examines health literacy and shared decision-making in prostate cancer screening
New research examines the dynamics between men's health literacy, their discussions with their doctors, and their decisions on whether to get tested for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a potential marker of prostate cancer.

Low health literacy may be a risk factor for postoperative infection
CHICAGO: Surgical patients are more likely to experience a postoperative infection if they have low health literacy, which is a limited capacity to understand and act on health information, according to results of a new study presented at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) 2020 Quality and Safety Conference VIRTUAL.

Expand school digital literacy lessons to cover health technologies used by young people
Young people need more support to navigate the growing number of digital technologies which track and manage their health, say researchers.

Heart failure patients with limited health literacy may have higher risk of death
Patients with heart failure who experience low health literacy are at an increased risk of hospitalization and mortality.

Media literacy can improve child nutrition, family relationships
A new study shows that building critical media skills as a family can have a positive impact on kids' nutrition without restricting their access to TV and computers.

New study examines ways to improve cancer literacy in young students
A new study led by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers suggests that implementing cancer education curricula in middle and high schools may improve cancer literacy in Kentuckians and ultimately help reduce cancer rates.

Financial hardship in cancer: The role of health insurance literacy
A new American Cancer Society study links health insurance literacy with medical financial hardship as well as non-medical financial sacrifices among adult cancer survivors in the United States.

OHIO study: Information literacy can combat 'fake news'
It's not difficult to verify whether a new piece of information is accurate; however, most people don't take that step before sharing it on social media, regardless of age, social class or gender, a new Ohio University study has found.

Health literacy can promote older people's health
A new study on older Finnish people's health literacy found that one third of 75-year-old Finns find it difficult to understand and use health-related information.

Health literacy linked to blood pressure medication adherence among Hispanics
Good health literacy is associated with better adherence to blood pressure medications among Hispanic individuals with high blood pressure, finds a study by NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and Columbia University School of Nursing.

Read More: Health Literacy News and Health Literacy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.