How science is being reported

Below is a selection of articles and reports on how various science-related issues are being reported in the media.  This section is updated from time-to-time.

January 2012 – The Conversation Fighting fact free journalism a how to guide by Ullrich Ecker, John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky

December 2011 – The Leveson Inquiry The UK SMC gives evidence to the UK enquiry into into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. Start time 28 min 25 sec

October 2010 – This is a news website article about a scientific paper by Martin Robbins (The Lay Scientist, hosted by The Guardian (UK)). Also see Martin’s followup piece, Why I spoofed science journalism, and how to fix it.

April 2010 – Swine flu’s birthday: Should we have reacted differently? Blog by Lyndal Byford (AusSMC Media Manager).

April 2010 – The Punch It’s time we had an actual discussion on about population. Blog by Susannah Eliott (CEO, AusSMC)

March 2010 – The Punch Balance in climate coverage nothing without quality. Blog by Lyndal Byford (AusSMC Media Manager).

November 2009 – ABC News Analysis Big bang sparks media interest in oil disaster. ABC’s online environment editor, Sara Phillips looks at the media coverage of the PTTEP Australasia oil leak off the coast of Western Australia and wonders if it takes a spectacular fire to get public attention.

June 2009 – Issues magazine Perils of the junk information age. Julian Cribb looks at science and the media in the information age. Issues magazine has devoted an entire issue to science and the media See here for details.

June 2009 – Issues magazine. Controversy: silence is a scientists worst enemy. Opinion article by Susannah Eliott on what happens when scientists remain silent in the face of controversy. Issues magazine has devoted an entire issue to science and the media See here for details.

March 2009 – Nature Supplanting the old media? A survey of 500 science journalsits shows the craft to be in serious decline. Geoff Brumfiel looks at what the future holds for the profession.

August 2008 – Melbourne University Dean’s Lectures The vexed issue of GM crops: A journalist’s journey through the issues. Journalist and author Elizabeth Finkel looks at the issue from a science journalist’s viewpoint.

2007 United Nations Development Program Occasional Paper Media coverage of climate change: Current trends, strengths, weaknesses A 54 page report on how international media coverage of climate change has shaped discourse and action.

October 2007 – Media Monitors – The Energy Debate An independent analysis of the Australian media has found that overall, discussion about energy averaged 52.9 on a 0-100 scale where 50 is neutral or balanced. Also, it found positive messages outweighed negative messages about energy production and use.

June 2007 – A workshop report, Carbonundrums: Making sense of climate change reporting around the world from the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University looks at media reporting of climate change around the world.


June 2007 – Media Monitors Water in the Media According to an independent analysis, the media’s coverage of the water debate indicates that politics and vested interests are clouding the issue and confusing the public about the solutions to Australia’s water crisis.

May 2007 – ABC Radio National – Media Report When it all goes wrong Annie Hastwell hears a cautionary tale from Fiona Fox (UK Science Media Centre) and plant geneticist Professor Mark Tester about a science story in the UK that went terribly wrong.

April 2007 – The Australian Go sell it from the mountain Veteran science correspondent Peter Pockley says science needs much more PR and scientists should prime themselves for this task.

August 2006 – R&D Review Scientists must tell their stories Leading Australian scientists and media experts met in Adelaide to explore how to improve public access to and understanding of science in a fast-changing media world.

August 2006 – Australasian Science Excessive hype debases science communication Rob Morrison says that excessive claims of ‘breakthroughs’ reduce science coverage in the media, warranting an agreement Jon guidelines and protocols for science communicators.

July 2006 – Guardian (UK) Why scientists ought to spread the word The importance of spreading a greater understanding of science among the public was highlighted in a 1993 science white paper from William Waldegrave, the then Tory science minister. But, 13 years later, it’s still tough to persuade scientists to do their bit, a study by the Royal Society, the UK’s academy of science, has found.

July 2006 – Australasian Science Taking Science To The Media Stephen Luntz speaks to AusSMC CEO Susannah Eliott about the development of the Australian Science Media Centre

June 2006 – The Age Health hopes sprout eternal Monica Dux looks at the over-hyped promises made about everything from red wine to sex and how they’re reported by the media.

May 2006 – Science and Development Network Science communicators ‘must promote public debate’ Science communicators should encourage public debates about science and technology, rather than simply tell people about the subject, a conference (Seoul, South Korea) has heard.

April 2006 – MJA Media reporting on research Steve Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz studied how the media reports research presented at conferences. They conclude that more caution is needed.

April 2006 Teachers as sickness brokers for ADHD How drug companies influence teachers using the internet.

November 2005 – R&D Review, p.13. Opinion: Science and the Media. Susannah Eliott discusses the need for a Science Media Centre (PDF 102KB)

July 2005 – What is Science? A paper prepared for the AusSMC by Board member, Rob Morrison (PDF 43KB)