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Category: Columbia Journalism Review

Can The Atlantic and David H. Freedman really be serious when they publish a story under the headline "How junk food can end obesity"?

Of course...

Can The Atlantic and David H. Freedman really be serious when they publish a story under the headline "How junk food can end obesity"?

Of course not. The headline is a friendly little deception to get our attention. The problem for us is to tease out the story they are actually telling, because they have signaled that they are not going to be straight with us.

Freedman, as you might recall, was the author of a piece in the January/February issue of the Columbia Journalism Review that bemoaned the state of medical reporting. "Personal-health journalists have fallen into a trap," producing stories that "grossly mislead the public, often in ways that can lead to poor health decisions with...

Curtis Brainard, the science-news critic at the Columbia Journalism Review, is among several editors laid off or being threatened with layoffs following the departure of the magazine's editor, according to a report at...

Curtis Brainard, the science-news critic at the Columbia Journalism Review, is among several editors laid off or being threatened with layoffs following the departure of the magazine's editor, according to a report at capitalnewyork.com. Brainard directs and writes for CJR's The Observatory, which describes itself as "a lens on the science press."

AOL's Chris Grosso announced last Thursday in a blog post that Cyndi Stivers, CJR's editor, would become editor-in-chief of AOL.comJoe Pompeo of...

In a terrific recent piece, Columbia Journalism Review's Curtis Brainard takes apart the history of media coverage of false claims linking vaccination to development disorders such as autism. Brainard doesn't mince words about the...

In a terrific recent piece, Columbia Journalism Review's Curtis Brainard takes apart the history of media coverage of false claims linking vaccination to development disorders such as autism. Brainard doesn't mince words about the frequently shoddy coverage of the issue: "The consequences of this coverage go beyond squandering journalistic coverage on a bogus story. There is an evidence that a fear of a link between vaccines and autism, stoked by press coverage, caused some parents to either delay vaccinations for their children or deny them altogether."

In his four-page piece, Brainard acknowledges the central role of researchers, such as the now debunked work of Andrew Wakefield,  whose (now retracted) 1998 Lancet paper is  often considered the starting point for the recent wave of anti-vaccination fervor. But he doesn't let Wakefield's own behavior excuse that of...

On Jan. 8, I dissected a long article in the Columbia Journalism Review by David H. Freedman which argued, essentially, that accurate and timely coverage of medical news was...

On Jan. 8, I dissected a long article in the Columbia Journalism Review by David H. Freedman which argued, essentially, that accurate and timely coverage of medical news was impossible. Published medical findings are more often wrong than right, he argues, and so a good reporter who conveys those findings accurately is spreading the wrong findings. Better to chat with friends (as we will see below) than to rely on studies.

CJR, in a very unusual move, has now asked a science writer to write a rebuttal to Freedman's piece. (Kudos to the editors for continuing this important conversation.) The new piece, by Gary Taubes, who has done extensive reporting on obesity (and who holds controversial views on the subject), consists of a very smart analysis of the...

In the pages of the Columbia Journalism Review, the medical and health-policy writer Trudy Lieberman is tossing a laurel to the legacy media--remember the legacy media?--for some nice reporting on childhood obesity.

The medium in question is a kids' magazine called...

In the pages of the Columbia Journalism Review, the medical and health-policy writer Trudy Lieberman is tossing a laurel to the legacy media--remember the legacy media?--for some nice reporting on childhood obesity.

The medium in question is a kids' magazine called ChopChop, which aims to "get kids in the kitchen." Here is Lieberman:

ChopChop is beautiful, engaging, empowers kids to cook and eat healthy foods, offers recipes even adult foodies will love, and aims to help reduce childhood obesity—the coming scourge of the health care system. For doing all this, ChopChop deserves a CJR laurel.

Whether or not one would call this journalism is an arguable point, but Lieberman is correct to observe that the magazine is sending a message to children and families, which does make it journalism of a sort. The magazine's...

Earlier this month, my Tracker colleague Paul Raeburn posted a detailed and substantive critique of Columbia Journalism Review's big cover story in this year's first issue, which he described as a...

Earlier this month, my Tracker colleague Paul Raeburn posted a detailed and substantive critique of Columbia Journalism Review's big cover story in this year's first issue, which he described as a deeply flawed take-down of diet and health reporting by The Atlantic's David Freedman. I'm not planning to pile onto those story criticisms though.

I'm here to criticize the cover illustration that went with it.

I've posted an image of that cover, which features the jokey teaser headline for Freeman's piece "Why is Diet Research So Thin?" But really the headline is only secondary to the main focus of this cover which appears to be a swimsuit model. In fact, a thin yet nicely endowed model wearing a two piece suit with a, um,  slightly...