Scientists and deliberativeness of European public television news

Scientists intermittently appear on television news as experts to inform and comment on current events. This study explores whether their appearance adds a critical measure of substantiated arguments and balanced judgements to public affairs reporting. An explorative analysis of a representative sample of news broadcasts from five public broadcasters in Western Europe in 2006 and 2007 suggests that this is to some extent the case. The implications of these findings for the deliberative quality of TV news are discussed, and a typology of scientific experts in the general news items is proposed.