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Television reaches around 90% of households in MÃ©xico, placing it as the most common reference for news. Therefore, a diagnosis of science related issues on TV newscasts opens the possibility of increasing the quality of news coverage in this specific area.
We analysed the coverage of two specific news stories with potential science content -the A H1N1 influenza epidemic in Mexico and Cancun's Climate Change world summit-- by 4 prime time Mexican television newscasts. Our quantitative results were acquired by using the General Protocol for TV, developed by the Iberoamerican Network for Monitoring and Formation on Science Journalism. We then explored the coverage qualitatively through the Citizen's Interests Table, a tool developed at Mexico's National University for this very purpose.
We examined 233 broadcast pieces, identifying such variables as framing, visual resources, duration and points of scientific information. Our results reveal the coverage as dominated mostly by brief notes mainly with political and government sources, in contrast with the very few scientific sources and explanatory resources. By tracking specific pieces of scientific information identified as essential to potential citizen's interests, our results suggest that the coverages wouldn't allow the non-trained viewers to make significant decisions based on the science relevant to the stories.