Stem cell research is an example of scientific issue that gained a lot of attention of the Brazilian society in the last decade. In March 2005 the Brazilian National Congress approved the Biosafety Law – which cleared for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research and triggered all sorts of reactions, including a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality, the first public hearing ever at the Brazilian Supreme Court and a trial that cleared for human embryonic stem cell research in Brazil in 2008. Media played an important role on bringing the subject to broader public by covering the process and arguments involved. In this study we present a quantitative content analysis of stem cell articles published by the Brazilian news portal Estadao.com.br during the years 2005 to 2008 using a novel media monitoring software developed as a prototype in Labjor/Unicamp called SAPO – Scientific Automatic Press Observer –, which collects, measures and classifies articles as of scientific content or not. The analysis shows that science topics not only surpass the limits of its designated section on the newspaper, but that a very technical issues such as stem cell has been with some frequency brought up on contexts not related to science.

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Automatic media monitoring on stem cell research in Brazil
When the science section is not the limit

Ana Morales   State University of Campinas (Unicamp)

Carlos Vogt   State University of Campinas (Unicamp)

Maria Costa   State University of Campinas (Unicamp)

Stem cell research is an example of scientific issue that gained a lot of attention of the Brazilian society in the last decade. In March 2005 the Brazilian National Congress approved the Biosafety Law – which cleared for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research and triggered all sorts of reactions, including a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality, the first public hearing ever at the Brazilian Supreme Court and a trial that cleared for human embryonic stem cell research in Brazil in 2008. Media played an important role on bringing the subject to broader public by covering the process and arguments involved. In this study we present a quantitative content analysis of stem cell articles published by the Brazilian news portal Estadao.com.br during the years 2005 to 2008 using a novel media monitoring software developed as a prototype in Labjor/Unicamp called SAPO – Scientific Automatic Press Observer –, which collects, measures and classifies articles as of scientific content or not. The analysis shows that science topics not only surpass the limits of its designated section on the newspaper, but that a very technical issues such as stem cell has been with some frequency brought up on contexts not related to science.

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