- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2006

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Newspaper and magazine health coverage will be reviewed online at a new Web site beginning today.

Access to the site and its findings, www.HealthNewsReview.org, is free and open to consumers. It was created by University of Minnesota journalism professor Gary Schwitzer, who fashioned the site after similar efforts in Australia and Canada.

“For consumers, we hope it will help them improve their critical thinking about claims in health care,” said Mr. Schwitzer, who directs a graduate program in health care journalism.

The reviewers will monitor top newspapers, magazines and other media outlets and rate their coverage of health issues. Articles will be rated on a scale of one to five stars, and the reviewers also will post comments.

Mr. Schwitzer said he thinks the quality of health care journalism is improving, but it still sometimes falls short. Stories sometimes fail to spell out, for example, the availability of a new treatment or the strength of the evidence behind a study, he said.

A team of 20 reviewers from universities and clinics across the country will write the critiques.

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