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Comment & Response
August 23, 2021

Preventing Media-Based False Hopes—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, Sydney Local Health District, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 3Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(11):1539-1540. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.4450

In Reply We fully agree with the views put forward by du Perron and Finoulst1 in their response to our Research Letter on the media coverage of early detection tests.2 In fact, in a recent survey study that we conducted with 22 journalists in Australia, many of the journalists emphasized the importance of institutions (eg, universities) taking responsibility for the quality of communication about scientific results.3 These journalists felt it was important to avoid overstatements of findings and to improve press release quality by including funding information and test harms, as well as benefits. Several journalists stated that it was often difficult to get independent comments from researchers; for example, researchers may not return a journalist’s calls and emails. Paired with time pressures on journalists, this is not a good recipe for writing balanced stories. As du Perron and Finoulst state,1 the responsibility for improving media reporting needs to be shared, not left to journalists to single-handedly solve.

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