When the big storm comes, change your site

Steve Safran, with MediaReInvent, is out with this important weather reminder:

With the onset of hurricane season, and the first significant storm threat we’ve faced this year, it’s important that you’re ready for the emergency. I don’t mean having plenty of supplies on hand or having lots of meetings. I mean for your web presence — especially that front page of yours. In a big, breaking news emergency, you have to change it.
During the California wildfires in October 2007, KFMB did an outstanding job altering its website to give exclusive coverage to the fires.

KFMB wildfire page

Read the rest of Steve’s post at his blog.

Reviews find ‘dangerous pattern’ in morning shows’ health coverage

Coffee is good for your heart, coffee causes dementia, Orange Juice is good, Orange Juice is bad.  For years, I have coached writers and producers to view medical claims with skepticism.   Few things in life scare me more than a tease offering “new hope for women with breast cancer”,  or “Could this odd looking device end your back pain forever?”

Morning Show Health Coverage needs Rx
Morning Show Health Coverage needs Rx

Now, monitoring the health claims on television has become a vocation.   HealthNewsReview is put together by University of Minnesota journalism professor Gary Schwitzer and his team of two dozen health-news reviewers.  Every producer in the country should be looking at this.

More from Susan Perry at the MinnPost:

I seldom watch the morning network news shows. For one thing, I’m usually at my computer in the early morning hours, writing this blog. But I also like to keep my blood pressure at a low, calm level. I find much of the news reporting on the morning news shows frustratingly shallow.

Wanting to throw a cup of coffee at the TV set is not good, I believe, for one’s blood pressure.

University of Minnesota journalism professor Gary Schwitzer and his team of two dozen health-news reviewers do watch the morning news shows — or, at least, the health segments on them. They then publish their reviews of those segments on Schwitzer’s indispensable (for health consumers as well as health journalists) online site HealthNewsReview.

What they’ve found lately is disturbing, if not all that surprising. As Schwitzer wrote Monday in a “publisher’s note”:

By reviewing health news coverage every day, we are able to see big pictures of clear patterns unfolding that the casual day-to-day news consumer may miss.

One picture is quite clear. The morning health news segments on ABC, CBS and NBC do the following regularly:

• Unquestioningly promote new drugs and new technologies

• Feed the “worried well” by raising unrealistic expectations of unproven technologies that may produce more harm than good

• Fail to ask tough questions

• Make any discussion of health care reform that much more difficult

He then lists some of the network news segments that back up those perceptions. Here are a few recent examples with Schwitzer’s comments: Continue reading “Reviews find ‘dangerous pattern’ in morning shows’ health coverage”