[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 21, 1986

Medical News: Opportunities and Dangers

JAMA. 1986;255(11):1481-1482. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370110103032

Science writing is a new discipline and one worthy of respect. It is becoming one of the most important methods of communication to both physicians and laymen. However, this imposes a responsibility on reporters to be aware of the deficiencies in the medical scientific community so that as science writers they are not misguided in the exercise of their profession.

A large proportion of medical news aimed at the physician population is a direct result of the science writer's tendency to worship the god of speedy communication. The current fetish is to honor word about the newest drug, the latest device, the most recent transplant experiment. This phenomenon is a tribal practice that has deep roots in journalism. Only recently has there been an awareness that developments in medical science do not have to be covered in the same manner that one would report, for example, a four-alarm fire on