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The role of journal press releases in shaping biomedical news reporting. (360G-Wellcome-102556_Z_13_Z)

Public understanding of science and health is an important issue in society. Whether the topic is climate change, GM foods, or vaccines, each requires informed public engagement to arrive at democratic and ethically responsible solutions. Our project aims to uncover the causes of misreporting of health-related science, with implications for improving the interaction between scientists, the media, and the public. Despite years of debate about the (mis)representation of science in the media, th ere remains little hard evidence to indicate when, where and why problems arise. Our previous research has been among the first to address this issue, suggesting that university press releases (PRs) are a source of misreporting. The proposed study will investigate an even more crucial, but hitherto ignored, link between science and the media: PRs issued by major academic journals. Understanding the origin of misreporting is crucial for three reasons. First, occasional gross failure in the sc ience-media relationship, such as in the MMR scandal, causes demonstrable harm and death. Second, the cumulative effect of smaller-scale misrepresentation damages society by jeopardising public education and eroding trust in science. Finally, knowing origins of misreporting would allow for development of corrective guidelines that improve practices in PR formulation.


15 Jul 2013

Grant details
Amount Awarded 4990
Applicant Surname Chambers
Approval Committee ERG10 Medical Humanities
Award Date 2013-07-15T00:00:00+00:00
Financial Year 2012/13
Grant Programme: Title Small grant in H&SS
Internal ID 102556/Z/13/Z
Lead Applicant Prof Christopher Chambers
Planned Dates: End Date 2013-10-31T00:00:00+00:00
Planned Dates: Start Date 2013-08-01T00:00:00+00:00
Recipient Org: Country United Kingdom
Region Wales
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