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Type of site
Review website
Available inEnglish
OwnerSchwitzer Health News LLC
Created byGary Schwitzer
Current statusonline is a web-based project that rates the completeness, accuracy, and balance of news stories that include claims about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures. The Founder and Publisher is Gary Schwitzer, a health care journalist for more than four decades who is now an Adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The project's 10-point grading scale includes whether a story gives information about its sources and their competing interests, quantifies the benefits of a treatment, and appraises the evidence supporting the story's claims.[1][2][3][4]

In its first 22 months, the website reviewed 500 news stories, and found that they usually failed to discuss evidence quality, alternative options, costs, and absolute sizes of benefits and harms.[5] At that time, the editors of the journal PLoS Medicine wrote: “Schwitzer’s alarming report card of the trouble with medical news stories is thus a wake-up call for all of us involved in disseminating health research-researchers, academic institutions, journal editors, reporters, and media organizations-to work collaboratively to improve the standards of health reporting.” [6] In 2011, the Columbia Journalism Review website published an update on the site's findings.

In 2006, the year the project launched, it was honored with a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism.[7] In 2007, it won a Mirror Award to honor those "who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit."[8] In 2009, Schwitzer's blog was named "Best Medical Blog" in competition hosted by[9]

The organization once reviewed news on television but ceased in 2009.[10]

In 2014, Schwitzer published an article in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, providing an update on the lessons learned after 8 years with the project.[11]

In 2015, the project also began systematically reviewing health care news releases written by public relations professionals. By 2018, the editorial team had reviewed more than 500 such PR news releases to go along with more than 2,500 reviews of news stories.


  1. ^ Wise, Jeff (24 July 2016). "'s Gary Schwitzer on What's Wrong (and Right) With the Media". New York Magazine.
  2. ^ Perry, Susan (1 May 2015). "Confused by a drumbeat of health news 'dreck?' A Minnesota-based website aims to help". MinnPost.
  3. ^ Mazer, Benjamin (6 July 2015). "Journalists are not the end game: An interview with Gary Schwitzer".
  4. ^ Brooks, Jon (16 May 2016). "Does Health Journalism Do More Harm Than Good?". KQED Future of You.
  5. ^ Schwitzer G (2008). "How do US journalists cover treatments, tests, products, and procedures? an evaluation of 500 stories". PLoS Med. 5 (5): e95. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050095. PMC 2689661. PMID 18507496. Lay summaryGuardian (2008-06-21).
  6. ^ The PLoS Medicine Editors (2008). "False hopes, unwarranted fears: the trouble with medical news stories". PLoS Med. 5 (5): e118. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050118. PMC 2689669. PMID 18507502.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism | J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism".
  8. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "2009 Medical Weblog Awards Sponsored by Epocrates: Meet the Winners!". Medgadget. 19 February 2010.
  10. ^ Koerth-Baker, Maggie (15 October 2009). "Why Gave Up On TV". Boing Boing.
  11. ^ Gary Schwitzer (2014). "A Guide To Reading Health Care News". JAMA Intern Med. 174 (7): 1183–1186. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1359. PMID 24796314.

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