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Practice of Journalism

The state of the UK media’s reporting of risk and uncertainty in science

This project investigated media reporting of risk and uncertainty in a wide variety of science topics, the extent to which and how journalists report theories, scientific and public debates surrounding results, and coverage surrounding public policies based on research results.

The outcomes were:

i) a conference held in Oxford in November 2012, bringing together academics, journalists, policy makers and specialists from different sectors working on risk and uncertainty, and

ii) a publication entitled How the Media Report Scientific Risk and Uncertainty: A Review of the Literature, which examined the media’s reporting of risk and uncertainty around environmental and health stories, summarising how and when scientific stories involving them are reported, outlining theoretical approaches to media practices, and analysing the factors that lie behind the creation of news stories.

Project director: James Painter

Funder: Green Templeton College Academic Initiatives Fund

Photo credit: A view of melting icebergs of Breidamerkurjokull's Vatnajokull glacier, about 380 km (236 miles) from capital Reykjavik, May 31, 2008. © Ints Kalnins / Reuters