Big projects in science are often reported with words of praise and positive expectation for future achievements by Japanese news media. This trend is somewhat different from reports of other public enterprises, such as building a dam, where a more critical point of view is usually introduced. The difference gives us a clue to understand how Japanese news media deal with science policies compared to other social ones.

Along the direction, in this study we try to find the frames that those news media have used in reporting science projects both in qualitative and quantitative way. For this purpose, we look into a few specific cases that groups of Japanese scientists have claimed a large budget to the government, and follow how they have appeared in newspaper articles. The cases we consider here are building a large telescope and an experimental fusion reactor. For the articles, we focus on two of the three largest newspaper companies in Japan to see the typical trend. We also refer to a few other public enterprises that ask approximately the same level of budgets as a control sample.

Our result shows that the reports of the scientific projects by the newspapers hardly argue the budget, and use a quite simple frame. This is compared to the control sample where the budget is a more important factor and thus the result is evaluated against its cost, involving more number of actors. In this presentation we will detail the analysis and explore implication for transferring science policies to the public.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The study of Japanese newspaper articles in reporting science projects

Osamu Nakamura   Waseda University

Big projects in science are often reported with words of praise and positive expectation for future achievements by Japanese news media. This trend is somewhat different from reports of other public enterprises, such as building a dam, where a more critical point of view is usually introduced. The difference gives us a clue to understand how Japanese news media deal with science policies compared to other social ones.

Along the direction, in this study we try to find the frames that those news media have used in reporting science projects both in qualitative and quantitative way. For this purpose, we look into a few specific cases that groups of Japanese scientists have claimed a large budget to the government, and follow how they have appeared in newspaper articles. The cases we consider here are building a large telescope and an experimental fusion reactor. For the articles, we focus on two of the three largest newspaper companies in Japan to see the typical trend. We also refer to a few other public enterprises that ask approximately the same level of budgets as a control sample.

Our result shows that the reports of the scientific projects by the newspapers hardly argue the budget, and use a quite simple frame. This is compared to the control sample where the budget is a more important factor and thus the result is evaluated against its cost, involving more number of actors. In this presentation we will detail the analysis and explore implication for transferring science policies to the public.

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

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