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Health News Thermometer Launched

July 4, 2013

First of all, apologies for the name of this project. Please help us by suggesting something better.

Second, Good Thinking has just launched a project to catalogue seriously poor health journalism in the national press. The goal is to identify which newspaper is the worst offender and to use a league table of bad journalism to help drive up standards. For example, the winning (?) editor might want to avoid topping the table in future, and readers of that particular newspaper might begin to have doubts about the accuracy of its health articles.

You can find out more about the project at the Good Thinking website, but I will reinforce and add a few points below.

  1. We will need your help to identify articles. You can find out how to submit articles by visiting the Good Thinking website.
  1. We will need your help to evaluate articles. If you are a PhD student, then please register to volunteer and you will receive articles within your sphere of expertise.
  1. Thanks to Professor Edzard Ernst, Dr Margaret McCartney and Dr Ben Goldacre for being on the judging panel for this project.
  1. The Science Media Centre does a great job of encouraging good journalism, and I hope the Good Thinking blog prizes in 2012 also supported good science journalism. I will take this opportunity to point out that the blog prizes will be part of the ABSW awards next year, and Good Thinking will continue to be involved. Both the Science Media Centre and the blog prizes are carrots, but the Health News Thermometer is much more of a stick.
  1. This is a pilot project and we will see how it develops over the course of the year. The goal is to learn lessons this year and to continue the project in future years, perhaps focusing on different areas of science journalism each year.

If you want to hear me talking about the project, then please tune into the Pod Delusion (4 July, 2013).

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