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Testing the Effect of Press Guides on Health Journalists

18 Years
Open (Enrolling by invite only)
Medical Reporting

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Trial Information

Testing the Effect of Press Guides on Health Journalists

The news media has a powerful influence on public perceptions about health and health care;
and much of what people -- including many physicians -- know and believe about medicine
comes from the print and broadcast media. Several studies, however, have raised questions
about how well the press covers medical issues, pointing out errors and omissions in
coverage and misleading presentations of statistics. The goal is to help train journalists
to better understand and cover medical research, and to help improve communication between
journalists and medical journals.

Journalists traditionally write newspaper articles about medical research using information
from press releases and the medical journal article's abstract or full text. The objective
is to test whether the addition of a 'press guide' (a one-page summary of the study
findings) in addition to these other materials improves comprehension of facts about the
study article and the overall judgment of the newsworthiness of the study.

Inclusion Criteria:

- All journalists attending the 2009 NIH/Dartmouth/VA Medicine in the Media Symposium
will be invited to participate in the study.

- The symposium, which is held annually, is open to journalists across the country and
from abroad.

Participants who are Health Journalists at the Health Journalism 2010 conference will be
invited to participate in the study. This annual conference is being held in Chicago, IL
at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place During April 22, 2010-April 25, 2010.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Investigator)

Outcome Measure:

Comprehension of facts about the study article (covering study design, exposures, outcome measures, results, limitations, conflicts of interest) assessed using a brief test.

Outcome Time Frame:

0 weeks (assessed during intervention)

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, MS

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

White River Junction VAMC


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

June 2009

Completion Date:

December 2010

Related Keywords:

  • Medical Reporting
  • risk communication
  • medical reporting
  • Mass media