It is often claimed that there is a dismal lack of science and technology coverage in the South African press, but no effort has been made to quantify and analyse the amount of coverage.

The Foundation for Education, Science and Technology (FEST) has funded a benchmark research project by the Department of Journalism, University of Stellenbosch, to analyse science and technology journalism in the local media.

The results of this study can provide the basis for future programmes to improve quality and quantity of science and technology reporting.

The paper will include

1.the findings of an international literature review of previous studies re media analysis of science and technology journalism
2.the findings of the media analysis in a number of daily and weekly newspapers and magazines over a period of three months in 2002.
3.The overall amount of coverage; also expressed as a percentage of the editorial content of each newspaper/magazine.
4.The subjects covered and the relative amount of coverage of various content categories (health, environment, technology, etc), expressed in percentages.
5.An analysis of coverage according to the “type” of coverage, ie news-related vs features.
6.The evaluative tone of the coverage (positive / negative).
7.How important visuals and infographics are, and how many/what sizes are used.
8.How much of the coverage is about benefits and risks respectively.
9.How much deals with controversial aspects (to be defined) of science and technology.
10.The prominence given to science and technology coverage.
11.The incidence of “quasi-sciences” as serious science.
12.The source of the story or visuals (foreign sources? news wires? local sources? local scientists?).
13.The profile of the reporters involved (how many dedicated science writers? Also, how experienced?).

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Analysis of science and technology reporting in the South African media

Carine van Rooyen   University of Stellenbosch

It is often claimed that there is a dismal lack of science and technology coverage in the South African press, but no effort has been made to quantify and analyse the amount of coverage.

The Foundation for Education, Science and Technology (FEST) has funded a benchmark research project by the Department of Journalism, University of Stellenbosch, to analyse science and technology journalism in the local media.

The results of this study can provide the basis for future programmes to improve quality and quantity of science and technology reporting.

The paper will include

1.the findings of an international literature review of previous studies re media analysis of science and technology journalism
2.the findings of the media analysis in a number of daily and weekly newspapers and magazines over a period of three months in 2002.
3.The overall amount of coverage; also expressed as a percentage of the editorial content of each newspaper/magazine.
4.The subjects covered and the relative amount of coverage of various content categories (health, environment, technology, etc), expressed in percentages.
5.An analysis of coverage according to the “type” of coverage, ie news-related vs features.
6.The evaluative tone of the coverage (positive / negative).
7.How important visuals and infographics are, and how many/what sizes are used.
8.How much of the coverage is about benefits and risks respectively.
9.How much deals with controversial aspects (to be defined) of science and technology.
10.The prominence given to science and technology coverage.
11.The incidence of “quasi-sciences” as serious science.
12.The source of the story or visuals (foreign sources? news wires? local sources? local scientists?).
13.The profile of the reporters involved (how many dedicated science writers? Also, how experienced?).

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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