All author's publications are listed below.
Accurate news media reporting of scientific research is important as most people receive their health information from the media and inaccuracies in media reporting can have adverse health outcomes. We completed a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a journal article, the corresponding press release and the online news reporting of a scientific study. Four themes were identified in the press release that were directly translated to the news reports that contributed to inaccuracies: sensationalism, misrepresentation, clinical recommendations and subjectivity. The pressures on journalists, scientists and their institutions has led to a mutually beneficial relationship between these actors that can prioritise newsworthiness ahead of scientific integrity to the detriment of public health.
This commentary is based on a talk that was presented during the Australian Science Communicators Conference in February 2020. As a Ph.D. student, my research is focused on the investigation of methods of communicating science to public audiences. Within science communication, this talk discussed a case study that was completed as part of my Ph.D. This commentary details a review of a portion of the literature that I completed for my Ph.D. related to the misreporting of scientific research in news media. This review of the literature is relevant to the contemporary environment of scientific research reported in news media. I conclude by suggesting that given the challenging science and news media landscapes; scientists, science communicators and journalists must work more effectively together to uphold the integrity of their professions and to ensure that scientific research is more accurately reported in news media. Additionally, I argue that more research is needed that seeks to understand the relationships between scientists, science communicators and journalists to enable more effective working relationships between these professionals.