Media no good at environmental information

A recent research by the University of the Basque Country (UBC) questions media’s role in environmental information.

“The UBC research points at one major problem in environmental communication”, confirms Franco Cavalleri, CSST Developmental Studies director.

“Newspapers and magazines are products. They are part of larger and heterogeneous holdings and respond to these groups’ business needs. Editors and publishers have two goal: sell their product, that is the newspaper or magazine they edit, and respect their group’s business needs. What they publish responds to such points: one side, they try to satisfy their readers’ demands, giving them what they want to read; the other side, they are given precise marketing goals, they have to help in selling the group’s other products and services”.

What you are saying is that newspapers are not really communication media, rather a sort of mirror of their respective readers and advertising tools for their holdings.

“True. And that s not the whole picture, yet. You have to take nto consideration the political ties both newspapers publishers and their group’s stockholders have”.

So long with science and rationality, though.

“Each and every word published by a newspaper or magazine respond to business needs and views of the world. Commercial needs, ideology, political goals: this is what makes the wheel go round”.

“Well, you know, scientists are somewhat responsible for this situation. Over the past decades, ever since science has become a major force in shaping politics and made it to the general public news, newspapers readers have been bombed with lots of science news. More often than not, inspired by and responding to precise political and economical needs. It was a sort of science marketing. It did help in spreading a deeper scientific knowledge, but it also polluted science and scientists with commercial behaviors”.

“Today, whenever you read a science news on a newspaper, your first thought is ‘who is behind this news, who s benefiting from it’. Actual scientific relevance is second place only”.

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