All author's publications are listed below.
In this paper we analyze the coverage of the pandemic influenza caused by the A (H1N1) virus by the main Brazilian TV news. Jornal Nacional (JN) – which can be roughly translated with National News – reaches an average of 25 million people throughout the country daily. We have observed that the attention cycle given to the new flu by JN lasted approximately five months with significant space given to the disease. Most of the news highlighted the number of illness cases and the health measures to control the infection. Only a small amount of news dealt with issues related to research and scientific development, and included scientists as interviewees or as information sources. We believe that the coverage made by JN may have contributed to the dissemination of what some authors refer to as a "pandemic of panic".
Before constructing a translation of scientific discourse in lay terms – and with this, calling forth the ghost of the public’s ignorance about science and technology – the operation which makes up the main task of specialized journalism in the coverage of related topics consists in the construction of a discourse of its own. However, this discourse frequently only amplifies and legitimates socially that which scientific laboratories and high tech companies offer as new, without critical opinions or contextualization. In addition to this, it is also generally characterized by linguistic operations which suppress uncertainties, doubts and considerations, thus contributing to the strengthening of the authority of specialists and of the distance which has been established – “by force” – between science and society.
A review of two books recently published by Vieira & Lent, by the Casa da Ciência (House of Science) and by the Oswaldo Cruz Museu da Vida (Life Museum, Cruz/Fiocruz), "O Pequeno Cientista Amador – a divulgação científica e o público infantil", and "Terra Incógnita – a interface entre ciência e público" ("The Young Amateur Scientist - scientific divulgation and the youthful public", and "Unknown Land – the interface between science and the public") is presented.