The academic scandal on a study on stimulus‑triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells in Japan in 2014 involved suspicions of scientific misconduct by the lead author of the study after the paper had been reviewed on a peer‑review website. This study investigated the discussions on STAP cells on Twitter and content of newspaper articles in an attempt to assess the role of social compared with traditional media in scientific peer review.
In the weeks following the first imported case of Ebola in the U. S. on September 29, 2014, coverage of the very limited outbreak dominated the news media, in a manner quite disproportionate to the actual threat to national public health; by the end of October, 2014, there were only four laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola in the entire nation. Public interest in these events was high, as reflected in the millions of Ebola-related Internet searches and tweets performed in the month following the first confirmed case. Use of trending Internet searches and tweets has been proposed in the past for real-time prediction of outbreaks (a field referred to as “digital epidemiology”), but accounting for the biases of public panic has been problematic. In the case of the limited U. S. Ebola outbreak, we know that the Ebola-related searches and tweets originating the U. S. during the outbreak were due only to public interest or panic, providing an unprecedented means to determine how these dynamics affect such data, and how news media may be driving these trends.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has gained popularity in recent years for treating sports-related injuries and the news media frequently reports on elite athletes' and celebrities' use of PRP. We conducted a content analysis of newspaper coverage of PRP in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. Findings show that news media coverage of PRP appears most frequently in sports-related stories, and in relation to elite athletes use of PRP. PRP injections are largely portrayed as a routine treatment for sports-related injuries and newspaper articles rarely discuss the limitations or efficacy of PRP. We argue that while news media coverage of PRP exhibits very few common hallmarks of hype, its portrayal as a routine treatment used by elite athletes and celebrities creates an implicit hype. This implicit hype can contribute to public misunderstandings of the efficacy of PRP.
We demonstrate that exposure to the news media causes Americans to take public stands on specific issues, join national policy conversations, and express themselves publicly-all key components of democratic politics-more often than they would otherwise. After recruiting 48 mostly small media outlets, we chose groups of these outlets to write and publish articles on subjects we approved, on dates we randomly assigned. We estimated the causal effect on proximal measures, such as website pageviews and Twitter discussion of the articles' specific subjects, and distal ones, such as national Twitter conversation in broad policy areas. Our intervention increased discussion in each broad policy area by ~62.7% (relative to a day’s volume), accounting for 13,166 additional posts over the treatment week, with similar effects across population subgroups.
GILLETT K. Nursing Inquiry 2012; 19: 297-307 A critical discourse analysis of British national newspaper representations of the academic level of nurse education: too clever for our own good? This critical discourse analysis examines articles about the academic level of nurse education that appeared in British national newspapers between 1999 and 2009. British newspaper journalists regularly attribute problems with recruitment into nursing and nursing care to the increasing academic nature of nurse education. It is impossible to separate discourse about nurse education from the wider nursing discourse. Many journalists laud a traditional and stereotypical construct of nurse identity and suggest that increasing nurse education produces nurses who are ‘too clever to care’. This article argues that whilst nurses lack a voice in the National press, they have little input into the construction of newspaper discourse about nurse education and subsequently, limited influence on resulting public opinion, government policy and the morale of nurses.
Journalists and health professionals share a symbiotic relationship during a disease outbreak as both professions play an important role in informing the public’s perceptions and the decisions of policy makers. Although critics in the United States have focused on US reporters and media outlets whose coverage has been sensationalist and alarmist, the discussion in this article is based on the ideal-gold standard-for US journalists. Journalists perform three primary functions during times of health crises: disseminating accurate information to the public, medical professionals, and policy makers; acting as the go-between for the public and decision makers and health and science experts; and monitoring the performance of institutions responsible for the public health response. A journalist’s goal is to responsibly inform the public in order to optimize the public health goals of prevention while minimizing panic. The struggle to strike a balance between humanizing a story and protecting the dignity of patients while also capturing the severity of an epidemic is harder in the era of the 24-7 news cycle. Journalists grapple with dueling pressures: confirming that their information is correct while meeting the demand for rapid updates. Just as health care professionals triage patients, journalists triage information. The challenge going forward will be how to get ahead of the story from the onset, racing against the pace of digital dissemination of misinformation by continuing to refine the media-science relationship. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-5).
Advocacy informed by scientific evidence is necessary to influence policy and planning to address physical inactivity. The mass media is a key arena for this advocacy. This study investigated the perceptions and practices of news media professionals reporting physical activity and sedentariness to inform strategic communication about these issues.
The Western Australian (WA) ‘LiveLighter’ (LL) mass media campaign ran during June-August and September-October 2012. The principal campaign ad graphically depicts visceral fat of an overweight individual (‘why’ change message), whereas supporting ads demonstrate simple changes to increase activity and eat healthier (‘how’ to change message). Cross-sectional surveys among population samples aged 25-49 were undertaken pre-campaign (N = 2012) and following the two media waves (N = 2005 and N = 2009) in the intervention (WA) and comparison state (Victoria) to estimate the population impact of LL. Campaign awareness was 54% after the first media wave and overweight adults were more likely to recall LL and perceive it as personally relevant. Recall was also higher among parents, but equal between socio-economic groups. The ‘why’ message about health-harms of overweight rated higher than ‘how’ messages about lifestyle change, on perceived message effectiveness which is predictive of health-related intention and behaviour change. State-by-time interactions showed population-level increases in self-referent thoughts about the health-harms of overweight (P < 0.05) and physical activity intentions (P < 0.05). Endorsement of stereotypes of overweight individuals did not increase after LL aired. LL was associated with some population-level improvements in proximal and intermediate markers of campaign impact. However, sustained campaign activity will be needed to impact behaviour.
Drinking water insecurity and related health outcomes often disproportionately impact Indigenous communities internationally. Understanding media coverage of these water-related issues can provide insight into the ways in which public perceptions are shaped, with potential implications for decision-making and action. This study aimed to examine the extent, range, and nature of newspaper coverage of drinking water security in Canadian Indigenous communities.
From April 16, 2006, through May 30, 2013, a team of reviewers from HealthNewsReview.org, many of whom were physicians, evaluated the reporting by US news organizations on new medical treatments, tests, products, and procedures. After reviewing 1889 stories (approximately 43% newspaper articles, 30% wire or news services stories, 15% online pieces [including those by broadcast and magazine companies], and 12% network television stories), the reviewers graded most stories unsatisfactory on 5 of 10 review criteria: costs, benefits, harms, quality of the evidence, and comparison of the new approach with alternatives. Drugs, medical devices, and other interventions were usually portrayed positively; potential harms were minimized, and costs were ignored. Our findings can help journalists improve their news stories and help physicians and the public better understand the strengths and weaknesses of news media coverage of medical and health topics.