Report Faults BBC Science Coverage

Journalists should focus more on accurately representing the science of climate change and vaccinations and less on impartiality, a new review finds.

Jul 22, 2011
Tia Ghose

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There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes only one is right. That’s the gist of a new review of BBC’s science coverage, which suggests journalists should focus more on accurately presenting the scientific consensus and less on presenting both sides on controversial issues such as climate change, genetically engineered foods, or the discredited link between vaccines and autism.

Overall, however, the review praised BBC’s science coverage. But the analysis of 8 weeks of media content conducted by Imperial College London geneticist Steve Jones did highlight several areas for improvement. In addition to giving too much space to fringe views such as climate change skepticism, the report also faulted the media outlet for lacking strong science contacts and for depending too heavily on press releases. The BBC has reviewed the findings and is already on board with one of its recommendations: hiring a science news editor, ScienceInsider reports.