Sounds Of Silence: Weekly Science Sections In Newspapers Drop From 95 In 1989 To 19 In 2012

Columbia Journalism Review published the sorry statistics: Thank goodness an understanding of science is not more important in people’s lives today than it was in 1989. Actually, the situation is even worse than those numbers indicate. They are really for daily newspapers in the U.S. that run weekly science and health sections. As a 2006 Shorenstein Center analysis cited by CJR points out, of the remaining science sections in 2005:     … more than two-thirds focus primarily on health in their titles, up from about 50 percent in 1992. In comparison, the sections that self-identify as “science” dropped from 30 percent in 1992 to 12 percent in 2004. The rest—18 percent today versus 21 percent in 1992—were listed as a combination of “health” and “science.”     The Washington Post is a classic example. This is the section they run every Tuesday.  And a quick look at the paper or their web page makes clear that the word “health” is first for a reason — the overwhelming majority of stories are health related and not aimed at  educating the public about science in general. If only the media had a clue that the story of the century is also about the greatest threat to human health (see, for instance, this 2009 post, The Lancet’s landmark Health Commission: “Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”). Related Posts:  With science journalism “basically going out of existence,” how should climate scientists deal with well-funded, anti-science disinformation campaign? Silence Of The Lambs 3: Media Coverage Of Climate Mixed In 2012, But Still Down Sharply From 2009

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