ERIC Number: ED373336
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jul-12
Reference Count: N/A
Explanations, Education, and Electromagnetic Fields.
Friedman, Sharon M.
Explaining complex scientific and environmental subjects in the mass media is difficult to do, particularly under such constraints as short deadlines and lack of space or time. When a scientific controversy and human health risk are involved, this becomes an even harder task to accomplish. The subject of electromagnetic fields (EMF) involves complex scientific concepts, disagreement among experts, and potential human health risks, particularly for children. Unfortunately, much of the heavy media coverage in the United States about EMF during 1993 was sensational, contributing to public fears over the issue. Such fears, however, are not as yet supported by scientific evidence. Three science writers did provide in-depth explanations of the problems with the science of EMF and the Swedish studies that apparently indicated an association between EMF and childhood leukemia. More in-depth explanation is needed in the United States media and elsewhere. Those who teach science writing and other forms of journalism must make sure that they do not lose the forest for the trees--that in teaching students how to explain the small things, they neglect to teach them how to explain the big ones. (Contains 29 notes and 1 table of data). (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Electromagnetic Field; Media Coverage; Science Writing
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (44th, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, July 11-15, 1994).