Gary Schwitzer has specialized in health care journalism in his more than 30-year career in radio, television, interactive multimedia and the Internet. He is an Associate Professor on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. He teaches health journalism and media ethics.
He is publisher of the website HealthNewsReview.org, leading a team of more than two dozen people who grade daily health news reporting by major U.S. news organizations. In its first year, the project was honored with several journalism industry awards – the Mirror Award, honoring those who "hold a mirror to their own industry for the public's benefit," and the Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism. His blog was voted 2009 Best Medical Blog.
In 2000, he was the founding Editor-In-Chief of the MayoClinic.com consumer health web site.
During the 1990’s, Gary produced groundbreaking decision-making videos for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making based at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
He worked for four years at the National Office of the American Heart Association in Dallas.
He was a television medical news reporter for 14 years, with positions at CNN in Atlanta, WFAA-TV in Dallas, and WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee. He was head of the medical news unit at CNN, leading the efforts of ten staff members in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. After leaving the television news business, he has frequently been asked to write or speak on the state of medical journalism.
He served two terms as a member of the board of directors of the Association of Health Care Journalists for whom he authored the organization’s Statement of Principles. For that organization he also wrote a guide on how to report on medical research studies.
He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Broadcast Education Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Schwitzer has written about the state of health journalism in JAMA, BMJ, the American Journal of Bioethics, the Journal of Medical Internet Research, PLoS Medicine, Nieman Reports, Quill, CJR Daily, Poynter.org, The Daily Beast, The American Editor, and MayoClinic.com. In 2009, the Kaiser Family Foundation published and distributed his white paper on "The State of US Health Journalism."
The editors of the journal PLoS Medicine wrote:
"Schwitzer's alarming report card of the trouble with medical news stories is thus a wake-up call for all of us involved in disseminating health research“”researchers, academic institutions, journal editors, reporters, and media organizations“”to work collaboratively to improve the standards of health reporting."
The Canadian Medicine blog said:
"University of Minnesota journalism professor Gary Schwitzer is one of the most astute and intelligent critics of misleading, erroneous and fear-mongering health reporting.“
The Seattle Times said:
"Schwitzer is one of the country's leading authorities on what's right and wrong about health coverage in the media.“
William Heisel, journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, wrote:
"Gary Schwitzer is the professor that health reporters fear. With the creation of HealthNewsReview.org,he has brought back nightmares of having your work marked up in red and posted on a corkboard for everyone to see.“
The top-rated KevinMD.com blog wrote:
"Journalism professor Gary Schwitzer is the foremost health media watchdog, with his organization rigorously monitoring the health content of major media.“
Susan Perry, on her MinnPost.com column referred to the HealthNewsReview.org project as:
"indispensable to consumers & journalists"