Do newspapers preferentially cover biomedical studies involving national scientists?
Public Underst Sci. 2018-10-29; : 096366251880980
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Dumas-Mallet E(1), Tajika A(2), Smith A, Boraud T(1), Furukawa TA(2), Gonon F(1).
(1)University of Bordeaux, France.
(2)Kyoto University, Japan.
News value theory rates geographical proximity as an important factor in the
process of issue selection by journalists. But does this apply to science
journalism? Previous observational studies investigating whether newspapers
preferentially cover scientific studies involving national scientists have
generated conflicting answers. Here we used a database of 123 biomedical studies,
113 of them involving at least one research team working in eight countries
(Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and
the United States). We compiled all the newspaper articles covering these 123
studies and published in English, French, and Japanese languages. In all eight
countries, we found that newspapers preferentially covered studies involving a
national team. Moreover, these « national » studies on average gave rise to a
larger number of newspaper articles than « foreign » studies. Finally, our study
resolves the conflict with previous conclusions by providing an alternative
interpretation of published observations.