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Study Shows: How Statistics Are Used to Articulate and Shape Discourses of Science in the Newsroom.

Brandao, Renata (2016) Study Shows: How Statistics Are Used to Articulate and Shape Discourses of Science in the Newsroom. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the use of peer-reviewed data and statistics in news communication of science through a content analysis and close reading analysis of statistical data in the United Kingdom science news and in-depth interviews with science journalists. The content analysis yields three key insights into the use of science data in the United Kingdom and Brazilian press: (1) statistics are used overwhelmingly to treat science as hard news, (2) there is an immense lack of fundamental background information about how the reported data are produced and (3) science journalists tend to use peer-reviewed data in a unique fashion: their stories include either too few or too many statistics from original sources. The in-depth interviews attempt to explain this content pattern, examining how journalists access and interpret quantitative data when producing stories about science, the nature of statistical news sources that they regularly use, and how they evaluate and treat such sources in articulating science news stories. Overall, this research finds that journalists tend to see and use statistics mainly to maintain the strategic ritual of objectivity in their social construction of science. The findings will be discussed in relation to a comprehensive body of literature on the use and abuse of statistical information as a key tool in the construction of journalistic objectivity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: journalism, statistics, science, objectivity, Brazil, United Kingdom, The Guardian, The Times, Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo,
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Journalism (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.706025
Depositing User: Miss Renata Brandao
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2017 13:57
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16438

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