Exhaustivity and critical tone of the news in print media reporting medical innovations

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Objective: To quantify how exhaustive and critical were stories reporting medical innovations published in print media and to analyze the characteristics that may be related. Method: Content analysis of the newspapers stories related to the discovery, introduction or improvement of a medical innovation through a questionnaire with ten criteria that allows calculating an overall score of exhaustiveness. The critical view was also included. Results: We analyzed 204 newspapers stories that on average obtained a comprehensiveness score of 4.5. Were optimistic 70% of the stories. The most valued criteria were: level of detail of the explanation of the innovation and the correct differentiation between facts and opinions. While the worst-valued criteria were: disclosure of financial conflicts of interest and the quantification of harms. The variables author, length of the story and classification of the innovation were related to both the comprehensiveness score and the critical view. The comprehensiveness score was also related to the pathology, number of sources of information and the critical tone of the story, while the critical view was also related to the newspapers diffusion and the relevance of the news. Conclusions: The analyzed stories presented inaccuracies, biases or an excess of optimism (either intentional or involuntary). Some aspects of the stories discussed in more detail would provide solutions to many of the identified shortcomings.




Solans-Domènech, M., Millaret, M., Radó-Trilla, N., Caro-Mendivelso, J., Carrion, C., Permanyer-Miralda, G., & Pons, J. M. V. (2019). Exhaustivity and critical tone of the news in print media reporting medical innovations. Gaceta Sanitaria, 33(2), 99–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2017.10.003

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