ERIC Number: ED232175
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Mass Media Coverage of the Social Sciences: Some New Answers to Old Questions.
Data collected in three recent reseach reports were examined to answer two basic questions about social science coverage in the news media. The first question, whether the media prefer social science stories to other kinds of science questions, was answered affirmatively by three kinds of evidence. First, combined analysis of 1977 and 1979 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting stories indicated that among all the topics covered during the meetings, social science topics received by far the most attention from journalists. Second, of more than 100 symposia at the 1977 meeting alone, 10 generated more than half of the total newspaper coverage, with three of the five stories receiving the most space in daily newspapers across the country being on social science topics. Third, a national survey of scientists indicated that while nearly half of the social scientists reported contact with at least three journalists during the previous year, the physical/biological scientists had encountered none. The second question asked whether any variables could be isolated that might explain this preference pattern. The data suggested that the media prefer social science research to other kinds of research because (1) social science research in some ways more easily accommodates itself to the media production process than do other kinds of research; (2) social science research is more easily defended as "relevant to the audience"; and (3) social scientists are more accessible than are other kinds of scientists. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).