Columbia Journalism Review published the sorry statistics:
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”).
- 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