In Nigeria, there appears to be a gross paucity of research data on press coverage or framing of science. We do not know how the print media attend to science and technology issues or how they are framed particularly nano-science, nanotechnology, and nano-medicine which tend to hold some promise for third world development. Neither do we know the extent of social inclusion nor the depth of political engagement in the communication of science and technology in the Nigerian media. This study interrogates the extent to which science and nano-science are covered and framed in two elite (The Guardian) and two popular newspapers (Daily Trust and Leadership); and if there is a significant difference in coverage and framing. This study adopts the content analysis research technique. It involves a selection of newspapers between January 1 and December 31, 2012: the year Nigeria revised its Science and Technology Policy. Results indicate that: there is a near absence of nano-science content in the analysed papers while the coverage of other science issues abounds.Where it occurs at all, nano-science is framed as an emerging field. Other science reports merely give information. Frames dealing with risk/controversy, socio-economic implications,or safety/ethics rarely occur. Routine science reports double the frequency of event-specific reports. Coverage using the news and feature styles abound whereas opinion/columns rarely occur.s. Brief coverage outweighs full page and half page reports. Reports cite more foreign than local sources. Health/medical and ICT, biotechnology,and high-tech issues are covered more than other science issues. Political actors, lay people, NGOs, corporations and community leaders are not significantly included in the coverage as are science publishers, scientists, the media, and government agencies. One of the two populist newspapers reported more science issues than the elitist paper. These findings have serious implications for science journalism practice in Nigeria.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Coverage of science and framing of nano-science and technology in Nigeria‘s elite and popular press

Clifford Ashong   University of Uyo, Nigeria

Charles Obot   University of Uyo, Nigeria

Herbert Batta   University ff Uyo, Nigeria

In Nigeria, there appears to be a gross paucity of research data on press coverage or framing of science. We do not know how the print media attend to science and technology issues or how they are framed particularly nano-science, nanotechnology, and nano-medicine which tend to hold some promise for third world development. Neither do we know the extent of social inclusion nor the depth of political engagement in the communication of science and technology in the Nigerian media. This study interrogates the extent to which science and nano-science are covered and framed in two elite (The Guardian) and two popular newspapers (Daily Trust and Leadership); and if there is a significant difference in coverage and framing. This study adopts the content analysis research technique. It involves a selection of newspapers between January 1 and December 31, 2012: the year Nigeria revised its Science and Technology Policy. Results indicate that: there is a near absence of nano-science content in the analysed papers while the coverage of other science issues abounds.Where it occurs at all, nano-science is framed as an emerging field. Other science reports merely give information. Frames dealing with risk/controversy, socio-economic implications,or safety/ethics rarely occur. Routine science reports double the frequency of event-specific reports. Coverage using the news and feature styles abound whereas opinion/columns rarely occur.s. Brief coverage outweighs full page and half page reports. Reports cite more foreign than local sources. Health/medical and ICT, biotechnology,and high-tech issues are covered more than other science issues. Political actors, lay people, NGOs, corporations and community leaders are not significantly included in the coverage as are science publishers, scientists, the media, and government agencies. One of the two populist newspapers reported more science issues than the elitist paper. These findings have serious implications for science journalism practice in Nigeria.

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

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