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Health News Gets a Checkup on NPR

On The Media

On May 5, NPR’s On The Media profiled a website that grades health stories broadcast in the popular media. Health News Review ( was created by Gary Schwitzer, a professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota. The reviews evaluate each story using 10 standardized criteria resulting in a score out of 5 stars. For instance, the Time story on a cancer drug trial scored 4 stars, while the biofeedback story reported by The Wall Street Journal only merits two. The website is solely funded by the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) foundation called The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making. As Gary Schwitzer says: “I would shut down the site before I would accept pharma money in such an effort. It won’t happen on my watch.”

The interview with Schwitzer is only 6 minutes long. You can access it at the On The Media website. Scroll down to “Health News Gets a Checkup”.

Health News Review

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