Participate in research re changes in reporting of health, environmental and science risks in the UK press over the past 30 years
“Frankenfoods could kill you”, “MMR linked to autism” and “mobile phones will fry your brain”. This is but a small sample of science based health stories that broke across the national news media in the late 90’s / early 00’s. With hindsight, such stories may have been based upon questionable scientific evidence.
In 2000, a House of Lords science and technology committee concluded that there was a need to improve the communication of science, risk and uncertainty across all spheres of public life. Several recommendations of this report sought to improve the manner in which “science” communicated with journalists – such as the establishment of institutions such as the Science Media Centre to act as a liaison between the world of science and the world of journalism. Other recommendations were aimed towards modulating how journalists constructed their science based news stories in that efforts should be made to mitigate uncertainty and develop a “responsible” approach risk within news stories.