Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts
For a long time, reporting health consisted largely of statistics on the number of deaths and cases of disease, or reporting on epidemiological data that affects people we do not know. While this is important for health officials, it is of little interest to audiences who are increasingly demanding information that is useful to their daily lives. And conserving one’s health is perhaps the most useful of all topics. Many have now added the internet to their personal health toolbox, helping them to gain a better understanding of an illness or medical condition. But how accurate and balanced is the information they read online, especially when many heath stories promote contradictory advice. This paper explores some of the shortcomings of online health news stories and suggests some practical ways to improve both the content and credibility.