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Where journalists get their medical news

March 3, 2017

Tags: medical news, health beat, health policy coverage, morning rounds

On the "Top of the Morning" page of the Center for Health Journalism, prominent health journalists and experts write what sites, newsletters, and social media feeds they turn to first every morning and why. Below are links to those sites and others, in alphabetical order. Feel free to comment.
• Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ keeps up on important health trends and offers tips on covering specific health and medicine beats) Available to nonmembers also: Covering Health blog.
• AHCJ daily update (members only, Association of Health Care Journalists)
• Axios (health care newsletter--also news about technology, politics, business)
• California Department of Public Health (main page for news releases--get the news as it comes out)
• California Healthline Daily Edition (a daily digest of California health news and politics)
• California Today (New York Times: news and stories that matter to Californians (and anyone else interested in the state), delivered weekday mornings)
• Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Its Nutrition Action Healthletter covers food safety and nutrition. See CSPI's All Over the Map: A 10-Year Review
of State Outbreak Reporting
(outbreaks of foodborne diseases).
• Charles Ornstein's Nuzzle Morning Health Reads (see newsletter archive, too)
• Commonwealth Fund health system data center and Commonwealth Health Reform Resource Center
• CQ Health Beat (covers health care developments on Capitol Hill, in the federal agencies that cover health and key health care policy developments throughout the states). So doesPolitico Pro.
• FierceHealthcare (healthcare industry news on healthcare reform, health IT, healthcare companies, CMS, managed care, etc.)
• Google Trends (lets you see what people are searching for in your area; you can also search by topics)
• Health News Review (this health journalism watchdog calls out bad reporting and offers tips and resources for reporting on various aspects of health and medicine). Sign up for their weekly digest. Check their list of independent experts.
• The Hill's healthcare coverage (that's Capitol Hill)
• KHN's Morning Briefing (Kaiser Health News's summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations)
• MedPage Today. You can subscribe to Medpage Today Morning Break
• Medscape (drug and disease reference resource, with some medical news and continuing education, CME)
• Modern Healthcare (good coverage of the industry)
• Morning Consult Health
• Morning Read (National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare)
• Muck Rack Daily (“a snapshot of what journalists around the world are reading, thinking and commenting on right now")
• Newswise
• Obesity and Energetics Offerings (UAB NORC / Office of Energetics). Writes Ivan Oransky, "Every Friday, David Allison and colleagues send out the Obesity and Energetics Offerings newsletter, curating news and analysis about diet and nutrition. One of my favorite sections: "Headline vs. Study." It's quite remarkable how different the two can be."
• Politico Pulse (get the latest in health care policy every weekday morning). For earlier, more in-depth coverage, pay for a subscription to Politico Pro.
• ProMED-mail. Read their digests to keep up with what's happening with infectious diseases.
• Pro Publica (Journalism in the Public Interest, keep up with their latest investigations), watch for Charles Ornstein, especially.
• Psych Central (psychology and mental health news and access to online mental health resources)
• PubMed (National Library of Medicine's massive database of journal abstracts--set up keyword alerts for studies etc. in areas you want to follow)
• PulseNet (CDC, a network of 83 public health and food regulatory laboratories, important for stories about foodborne illness. PulseNet groups together people who most likely ate the same contaminated food, or who were exposed to illness-causing microorganisms in some other way. The network does this by analyzing DNA fingerprinting on the bacteria making people sick, and on the bacteria found in food and the environment. See also CDC info on Food Safety and Challenges in Food Safety..
• Shots (National Public Radio)
• Rough&Tumble (a snapshot of California Public Policy & Politics)
• STAT Health News (reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine--with various sections, reporting on various topics). Says Paul Sisson, "Gideon Gil and his crew have made this an important site since they launched it. Lots of deep dives on important topics."
• STAT Morning Rounds (Megan Thielking's daily newsletter on health and medicine)
• STAT: The Readout (comes at 6 a.m. -- what’s new in biotech--a good overview of PhRMA news, and it's how Dan Gorenstein keeps up with Ed Silverman). Sign up for the newsletter.
• Stat Plus. For $$, you can sign up for access to exclusive, in-depth pharma, biotech, business, and policy coverage, keeping you on top of what’s happening in the industry — as it happens)
• To Your Health (Washington Post)
• Twitter Curate your own "follow list" and keep up on breaking stories by your favorite journalists. And follow specific subjects by hashtags (such as #diabetes). You can set up more than one Twitter account.
• The Upshot (analytical journalism, often with graphics, from the New York Times)

Medical journals many healthcare reporters follow include the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM, the most useful),BMJ, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), JAMA Internal Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. Healthcare reporters also often reach out to media relations people at hospitals, universities, medical research institutes, public health organizations, and the like.
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  1. March 31, 2017 11:59 AM EDT
    These sites are worth adding:
    • Retraction Watch Ivan Oransky's excellent blog: Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process. Sign up for his emails. It was from Retraction Watch that I learned about PubPeer.
    • PubPeer, the "online journal club," which allows users to critique published research--a form of post-publication peer review. PubPeer allows anonymous posting.
    • The Web's Faceless Judges (Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Science, 8-9-13) "Many scientists long for a place for unfettered discussion about published papers, and PubPeer is one of the latest websites trying to fill that gap. These sites can help to clarify experiments, suggest avenues for follow-up work, and catch errors. But PubPeer's founders and most of its commenters choose to remain anonymous, which may foster free discussion but doesn't always elevate it."
    • PubPeer’s secret is out: Founder of controversial website reveals himself (Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Science, 8-31-15)
    • Nature editors: all hat and no cattle (PubPeer, 12-18-16). Nature offered similar "self-correction of science" and PubPeer argues "that Nature cannot and will not keep those promises, because of editorial and corporate conflicts of interest. At best the promises are wishful thinking and at worst cynical window-dressing."
    - Pat McNees