Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Purdue panel: "Media need to provide digestible info about nanotech"

Nanotech coverage in mainstream newspapers increased from 284 articles in 2000 to 1,730 in 2006, the Purdue Exponent reports, based on a recent panel on media coverage of nanotech at Purdue. What initially looks like a 600% increase, however, may be somewhat misleading. A quick LexisNexis search of New York Times coverage of scientific issues last year shows the following breakdown: 631 articles mentioned "biotechnology" in the headline, 290 mentioned 'stem cell," and a mere 35 mentioned "nanotechnology.

More importantly, however, the panel talked about the nature of coverage. Samuel Moore, one of the speakers and senior associate editor at IEEE Spectrum, argued that "nanotech experts should work with journalists to create digestible information, easily understandable by viewers." This is very much in line with findings from recent national opinion surveys that showed how audiences rely on heuristics or cognitive shortcuts in lieu of easily-available and easy-to-understand information about nanotech.


Howard Lovy said...
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