Thursday, October 03, 2013

This Is Actually A Very Serious And Worrying Trend. We Are Being Treated Like Mushrooms.

This appeared a little while ago.

Health reporting at risk

Nicole MacKee
Monday, 23 September, 2013
THE loss of experienced journalists from some mainstream media outlets could lead to the “dumbing down” of health reporting, says a long-term observer of health in the media.
Professor David Henry, co-founder of the online health reporting watchdog Media Doctor, said the sudden exodus of experienced journalists from major media outlets last year due to the restructuring in two of Australia’s most influential media companies would have consequences for health literacy in the community.
“The existence of an independent media and in particular one that includes journalists that have the skills and the knowledge to report accurately on health care interventions, is really quite critical”, said Professor Henry, who is now a professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto, Canada.
He was commenting on an MJA article in which the authors, including Dr Christopher Jordens of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, raised concerns about the public health impact of the extensive loss of experienced journalists from major newspapers. (1)
The authors cited a Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance estimate that one in seven journalism jobs in major Australian newspapers were made redundant in 2012.
“Given that the loss of journalism jobs affected some of the highest quality newspapers, there is clearly cause for concern about their effect on the future quality of health reporting in this country”, they wrote.
Carol Bennett, CEO of Consumers Health Forum, said the departure from newspapers of journalists with years of experience in reporting health issues had weakened the coverage of often complex issues.
Lots more here:
Can I say this is a really serious trend that I am sure we have all noticed. The loss of people like Karen Dearne (News) and Mark Metherall (Fairfax) has really meant the level of coverage in e-Health has fallen away as well as the general level of Health coverage overall.
As reported in the article there really has been a night of the long knives in print journalism in the last year or two and some good people have surely been lost. It is also obvious from the coverage we now see that those who survived have been more thinly spread than is reasonable - especially as we are now asked to pay more for access to what is a clearly inferior overall product. Note this is no criticism of those remaining - there are simply not enough of them!
At least the Guardian in Australia ( and The Conversation ( are helping to fill the gap.
Sadly with the loss of general coverage we also seem to be getting less e-Health coverage from the technical press.
What is now your best source of e-Health information? Pulse + IT must be up there . How unbiased are you finding coverage and do you see some coverage as being distorted by sponsorship and the like?

Are there any blogs you like that are not listed here as being worth a read?
Comments welcome.


Anonymous said...


No need to feel bad about it but you and your BLOG are part of the Creative Destruction that is putting these traditional journalists of print newspaper media out of business.

Imagine how much funding would be reduced and reallocated if consumers were truly the arbiter of value and had a say in how much success and funding would be received by the likes of DOHA and NEHTA?

No doubt they would have been bankrupted many, many moons ago and quite justifiably...

It's obvious by their statements and behaviour at Senate Estimates hearings they have zero appreciation for this and continue to treat taxpayers and the taxpayer funds that feather their nests with complete contempt!

A BLOG when conducted with competence is a strong substitute for paid print media on a given topic of interest so why pay money for a print newspaper that's largely uninteresting in the whole when compared with something of specific interest and value at a relative fraction of the cost when connection costs are spread over all available internet information sources?

Market forces at their most ruthless best, demonstrating the sovereignty of the value-judging consumer…

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this post of yours David in regards to the pretty much total lack of reporting of the departures of the CIOs of both SA Health and NSW Health in recent weeks.

A few years ago these stories would have got at least some coverage and questions as to why they were leaving.

And now we have the frightening news that Fiona "HealthSmart" Wilson is to be the Acting CIO for NSW. Again, where are the journalists asking the basic questions as to who on earth came up with that bright idea, given her track record.

Anonymous said...

Talking about reporting, have any numbers on registrations been issued recently?

There was a big push to get registrations up around the middle of the year and which got a lot of press, but nothing much since.

Anybody know what the numbers are?

Anonymous said...

There was a big push to get registrations up around the middle of the year ............

I reckon the money to support that disgraceful deceptive activity has dried up and the monkeys tasked with the job of registering everyone in a nursing home, retirement village, hospital, and shopping centre have been given the flicko.

Anonymous said...

In Australia we have the opt - in system. Minimal take up happened when the pcehr was open for registrations. The facilitators speaking to the public continue to gain registrations. Many people that are spoken to think its a great idea and then register.
the English version was opt-out, so all were registered at the start. Most people say they will do it one day.. that day never happens..

Dr ian Colclough said...

In essence opt-in or opt-out is not a barrier to uptake. If it can be shown that it works, that it saves time, that it is convenient, that it helps achieve better standards of care then it will be adopted. That requires a mix of canny deployment and skilled marketing at the right time. Crude premature marketing trumpeting and chest beating as we have witnessed the last few years serves to undermine any semblance of credibility the system might possibly have and as a consequence destroy the market environment and the community's acceptance of the concepts behind the system.

Anonymous said...

With due respect Dr Ian Colclough, there is a difference with opt in and opt out.. Peoples apathy...
10% have opted out in the UK.. I am sure 90% would not have opted in..
What is effective marketing to get people to join?
Medicare staff don't have time to chat about ehealth, and register people, while there are 1 hr or longer wait times... Doctors with rooms full of patients again don't have the time (or wiling to spend it as they are not paid for it).
One on one face to face is the way to get registrations...advertising makes people aware, and they still wont register...

Anonymous said...

The extension of your 10/26/2013 02:45:00 PM is that the opt in model will magically cure people of their apathy to what is on offer. Hello!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dr Colclough's view of the world. Apathy will continue unabated regardless of whether a system is opt-in or opt out. Whether a system is perceived by the user to be of any use and can be convincingly demonstrated to be of use is the determining in factor in overcoming apathy.

If 100 percent of people are automatically enrolled through the opt-out approach the only people who are excited by this are the bureaucrats deluding themselves that because 100% of people are enrolled the system is a great success.