Recent examples show need for critical evaluation

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Using parenting Web sites as examples, the Boston Globe‘s Joanna Weiss writes about how many sites, which live or die based on their traffic numbers, seem to forget that “there’s something to be said for headline-writing care, and for editorial judgment.” While she mentions the furor over bisphenol A and other stories, the immediate inspiration for Weiss’ timely rant/reminder was an blog post headlined “If You Went to College, Will Your Daughter Develop an Eating Disorder?“.

She interviewed Ivan Oransky, M.D., AHCJ’s treasurer and executive editor of Reuters Health, who reminds us that epidemiological studies are conducted in the real world, not a carefully controlled lab, so they’re often open to misinterpretation.

Weiss’ piece reminds us to take care in how critically we look at studies and to be careful of oversimplifications.

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