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February 19, 1992

Reporting Negative Studies in the Mass Media

Author Affiliations

National Cancer Institute Rockville, Md

JAMA. 1992;267(7):931. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480070046016

To the Editor.  —Koren and Klein1 erred in contrasting the publicity received by a study of occupational radiation exposure at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and our correlation survey of populations living near nuclear facilities.2 The two studies were not evenly matched, as Koren and Klein presumed.The material that we summarized in the JAMA article on cancer near nuclear facilities had been released 6 months earlier in three volumes distributed by the National Institutes of Health.3 Because of congressional interest and the public's need to know, the release of these volumes in September 1990 required a congressional briefing, an executive branch briefing, a press briefing, and a statement for the press. We appeared on several major newscasts, and summaries were published in many major newspapers, including the New York Times (September 20,1990), ie, papers that, as the authors noted, did not report on our JAMA