ERIC Number: ED244304
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Scientific Sources' Perception of Network News Accuracy.
Moore, Barbara; Singletary, Michael
Recent polls seem to indicate that many Americans rely on television as a credible and primary source of news. To test the accuracy of this news, a study examined three networks' newscasts of science news, the attitudes of the science sources toward reporting in their field, and the factors related to accuracy. The Vanderbilt News Archives Index was examined to locate science stories. When a located item was reported on more than one network, only one version was chosen and selection of a network was made on a rotating basis. Transcriptions were made of the news broadcast audiotapes and mailed with a questionnaire to the attributed source. The original scientists contacted by reporters were asked whether inaccuracies had occurred in the news report, how the reporter had gathered the data, and what the respondents' attitudes were toward network television. The Charnley method of newspaper accuracy assessment was used, with appropriate variations for its application to television, though it was found that sources were difficult to track down and that transcripts of the broadcasts lacked the visual element that is important in television news coverage. Based on those presumed to have received the questionnaire packets, there was a 56% return rate. Data revealed that nearly half the respondents (48.5%) found the stories completely accurate, while 14% judged them somewhat inaccurate. Among respondent complaints were lack of air time given a subject, omission of essential details, sensationalism, confusing presentation of facts, and misleading editing practices. Although preliminary findings indicate that television science news is slightly more accurate than newspaper coverage, this finding may be due to factors like the brevity of television stories and printing errors that are beyond a news writer's control. (CRH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Association of Broadcasters, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: News Accuracy; Science News
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (67th, Gainesville, FL, August 5-8, 1984).