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Selling science: Source struggles, public relations, and UK press coverage of animal–human hybrid embryos

Williams, Andy ORCID: and Gajevic, Slavko 2013. Selling science: Source struggles, public relations, and UK press coverage of animal–human hybrid embryos. Journalism Studies 14 (4) , pp. 507-522. 10.1080/1461670X.2012.718576

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Over the last 20 years science news has been written by dwindling numbers of reporters, with higher workloads, and less time than previously to conduct tasks such as finding, researching, and checking news stories. Simultaneously, a growing science communication sector is developing more power to influence what, and how, such news is reported. This paper examines media coverage of animal–human hybrid embryos in the context of a highly efficient public relations campaign by a coalition of scientists and scientific organisations in the United Kingdom. It draws on the findings of a comprehensive content analysis of UK national press coverage of the issue, and 16 semi-structured interviews with specialist science journalists, key news sources, and press officers on both sides of a polarised media debate. We argue that while science communicators won a convincing media victory, the broad (and unintended) effects of such campaigns highlight concerns about media independence, and the openness and quality of public and scientific debate about controversial science.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal–human hybrid embryos, public relations, science communication, science news
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1461-670X
Funders: RCUK
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:01

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