The Power of the Front Page of The New York Times

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Science  15 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5366, pp. 996-997
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5366.996

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Last week, a front-page story in The New York Times triggered widespread reports of a "cure" for cancer, only to be followed by articles in several major newspapers, including the Times, presenting a much more cautious take on the story. This troubling vignette illustrates the binge-and-purge dynamic of some science reporting, in which overenthusiastic initial coverage provokes a surge of negative reports. And many questions remain about the episode, among them why the Times gave such prominence to a story that had already been widely reported--including last year in the Times itself.