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February 19, 1992

Reporting Negative Studies in the Mass Media-Reply

Author Affiliations

The Hospital for Sick Children Toronto, Ontario

JAMA. 1992;267(7):931. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480070046017

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In Reply.  —We thank Ms Neus, Mr Bishop, Mr Jablon, and Dr Boice for their interest in our study. Neus seems to have missed the main thrust of our report: the two studies published back-to-back in JAMA created a rare event in that a negative and a positive report on a similar problem, both of high public visibility, were given to the media simultaneously. The theory that the negative study was less reported because it had been previously covered is farfetched at best; if this were the case, why was the previous report not mentioned by any journalist, not even to balance the information? Why did some good newspapers have the insight to report on both? Her letter offers an interesting insight into the way a journalist may think: Neus does admit that her own newspaper did have the same bias that we reported to occur all over North America.