Medicine And The Media Medicine and the media

Failed publications: the medical model

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 08 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:420

Why are so many medical reports and newsletters written in pseudoscientific gobbledygook? Tim Albert considers these sad creations

  1. Tim Albert
  1. trainer in written communication and visiting fellow in medical writing at the Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development

    Next time you see a newsletter or an annual report from a distinguished medical body, look for the anodyne bureaucratic phrases and the pseudoscientific gobbledygook, the pompous initial capitals, and the photo booth “repertory company” photographs. Then reflect that in all probability a lot of highly paid academics put in a lot of expensive hours making the publication that bad.

    Earlier this year I gave up that part of my business which produced newsletters for medical and academic organisations. While most of my clients were charming, stimulating, and able, they were working within a culture that encouraged a type of behaviour that has serious implications for the relation between medicine and the media.

    The story invariably goes something like this. …

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