Robert Matz, MD
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Matz R. Health News Reporting. Ann Intern Med. 1997;127:948. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-127-10-199711150-00018
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(10):948.
TO THE EDITOR:
One aspect of medical science and health news reporting left out of Schuchman and Wilkes'  interesting analysis is the development of a “cult of personality” in the health news reporting community. Many well-known health and medical science reporters writing in a few major newspapers have become the primary source for secondary pick-ups by many radio, news-paper, and television reporters. Thus, a small handful of powerful, skilled writers wields an enormous amount of influence in this field.
An article or presentation picked up by one of these key players can leverage the contents and bring findings to instant attention never imagined by scientists and the journals for which they write. This leverage places these scientists in an immediate and often unaccustomed spotlight. Some scientists, organizations, and institutions, recognizing the exposure offered by this handful of medical science writers, openly court them. This is heady stuff, and science writers soon become power brokers in this highly competitive atmosphere. By their choice of what is or isn't reported, they can influence the direction of thinking and expenditures in these complex arenas.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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