Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
by Ragnar Levi, 151 pp, paper, $34.95, ISBN 0-8138-0303-9, Ames, Iowa State University Press, 2001.
No self-respecting medical reporter sets out to purposely distort the facts of a story. But the path to crafting an accurate and engaging article can be strewn with landmines that foil a writer's best intentions. In Medical Journalism: Exposing Fact, Fiction, Fraud, author Ragnar Levi, MD, provides a roadmap to help journalists avoid these difficulties and navigate a safe passage to the truth of a story.
Dr Levi draws lessons not only from his background in medicine and journalism but from numerous interviews with experienced medical journalists. Bringing a critical eye to bear on a story is the cardinal rule he sets down. The overall message is that, rather than accept information at face value, journalists must scrutinize data and ask relevant questions. To do this, reporters need a basic understanding of research methodology and of common errors in clinical research. The author stresses that it does not take a scholar to question the experts; however, it does take guts, common sense, and "an interest in the implications of scientific findings for people's health problems."
JournalismMedical Journalism: Exposing Fact, Fiction, Fraud. JAMA. 2002;287(16):2150-2151. doi:10.1001/jama.287.16.2150-JBK0424-5-1