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Media Coverage of Science, Health

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These types of reporting are quite distinctive and cannot be pooled (different ... Eco-warrior' with green dreadlocks) often the same sources time after time. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Media Coverage of Science, Health


1
Media Coverage of Science, Health Environmental
Issues
  • Seven papers on media reporting of the
    environment, biotechnology and health
  • These types of reporting are quite distinctive
    and cannot be pooled (different types of
    reporters, different political agendas and
    different public perceptions)

2
Media Coverage of Science, Health Environmental
Issues
  • Environment reporting
  • Study of env reporters in Australia (Janice
    Withnall)
  • Who are they? mostly young, underpaid, without
    any science training or future ambition to remain
    in env journalism. Env reporting in Aust. is
    characterised by low scientific content, lack of
    depth, and inaccuracies (few scientists as key
    sources)
  • Anecdotal comparison of flood reporting in Aust
    UK in Nov/Dec 2000 (Simon Torok)
  • Aust reports Floods due to abnormal weather
    patterns
  • UK reports Floods due to climate change
  • In both cases influenced by political agenda
    (not scientific agenda)

3
Media Coverage of Science, Health Environmental
Issues
  • Biotechnology and biosafety
  • Quantitative content analysis of US biotech
    reporting from 1995-99 (Bruce Lewenstein/Matt
    Nisbet)
  • Perceptable change in reporting from very
    positive (economic potential etc) to controversy
    ethics.
  • Amount of coverage followed announcements or
    discoveries such as Dolly
  • Press coverage of Biosafety meeting in Columbia,
    1999 (Lisbeth Fog)
  • Overall, coverage was high but full of
    inaccuracies. Reporters were lazy in their choice
    of sources and scientists frequently not quoted
    ín articles.

4
Media Coverage of Science, Health Environmental
Issues
  • Biotechnology reporting cont.
  • Reporting of GM food debate in NZ (Deborah
    Potter)
  • Qualitative look at Newspaper reporting in NZ
    shows that politics figures prominantly in media
    reports. Scientists are frequently not quoted and
    a variety of non-expert sources used (Eg.
    Eco-warrior with green dreadlocks) often the
    same sources time after time.

5
Media Coverage of Science, Health Environmental
Issues
  • Reporting of health issues
  • Health coverage in Spanish press from 1996-2000
    (Maria Roura-Poch)
  • Coverage of health has increased significantly in
    Spanish press. Follows 2 patterns (pointed
    here-today-gone-tomorrow and chronicongoing
    coverage). Scientific sources fare better than
    for env biotech (65 expert sources)
  • Coverage of breast cancer in Aust womens
    magazines (Janice Withnall)
  • Despite negative impressions in medical circles,
    womens magazines are doing a good job of getting
    accurate breast cancer information to women

6
Media Coverage of Science, Health Environmental
Issues
  • Some interesting themes
  • Biotech and Env
  • scientists frequently not used as sources
  • Reporting often follows political agendas rather
    than scientific ones (the Prince Charles
    effect)
  • Media reporting triggered by major events (Dolly,
    Kyoto Protol, Hague Climate Talks etc)
  • News coverage gets basic message into public
    agenda but theres often no follow up to provide
    context
  • Style of coverage reflects cultural as well as
    political perspectives of each country.

7
Media Coverage of Science, Health Environmental
Issues
  • Some interesting themes
  • Health
  • Experts widely consulted
  • Accuracy of reporting generally high
  • A good deal of ongoing coverage not related to
    announcements or political agenda
  • Perhaps percieved as less political???
  • Finally...
  • Cultural comparisons and global trends would be
    very useful
  • PhD anyone?.......
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