Letters

What is newsworthy?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7367.774/a (Published 05 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:774

Bad news from research really is headline news

  1. Lesley Fallowfield, director, Cancer Research UK. (l.fallowfield@biols.susx.ac.uk)
  1. Cancer Research UK Psychosocial Oncology Group, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex BN1 9QG
  2. London NW11 6PT

    EDITOR —The article by Bartlett et al highlighting the apparent unwillingness of newspaper reporters or their editors to headline good news stories made unsurprising but disappointing reading.1 It mirrored my own impressions and experiences of television and radio reporting about doctors' communication skills. I have lost count of the mumber of times my group is contacted by reporters wanting examples of poor rather than good doctor-patient communication.

    The worst example of this was a press release in February this year about a randomised controlled trial we had published in the Lancet.2 The paper showed the efficacy of a communication skills course for oncologists in 34 cancer centres throughout the United Kingdom involving over 2400 …

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