A healthy online discussion has begun over the Woloshin-Schwartz paper, published in last week's Annals of Internal Medicine, that concluded: “Press releases from academic medical centers often promote research that has uncertain relevance to human health and do not provide key facts or acknowledge important limitations.”
On the Columbia Journalism Review website, Earle Holland - assistant vice president for research communications at Ohio State University - scrutinizes that paper and news coverage thereof. And, in a followup comment, he gives a plug for our work, writing:
"The lamentation that news "releases are distributed directly to the public via the web, and the news spreads without any independent assessment" is easily fixed, if it is a concern at all. Journalists need to do a better job of evaluating the studies. A bit of time spent at Gary Schwitzer's great website, HealthNewsReview.org offers a great primer on what's good and bad about ongoing medical/biomedical reporting."
Read all of Holland's article. This is an important topic for discussion by those who care about the dissemination of health, medical and research news.