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J Gen Intern Med. 2003 Feb;18(2):138-45.

Helping journalists get it right: a physicians's guide to improving health care reporting.

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Department of Medicine/Division of General Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Tex 78229-4404, USA.


News reports are the way that most people, including many physicians and scientists, first learn about new developments in medicine. Because these reports can raise awareness, influence behavior, and confer credibility, physicians should share responsibility with the media for accurate reporting. Physicians can work with reporters to avoid sensationalizing tentative findings, overstating benefits, and making inappropriate generalizations. This article includes pragmatic suggestions for crafting effective news releases and explaining numerical data. It details "rules of the road" for interviews. Working collaboratively with news reporters to improve the quality of medical stories in the lay press benefits patients and physicians alike.

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