Poverty and Health: How Science Journalism Fails to Construct the Issue


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Essay #: 055854
Total text length is 9,397 characters (approximately 6.5 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Poverty and Health: How Science Journalism Fails to Construct the Issue
Science is the human discourse that is most directly engaged with the natural world; in this sense, science describes nature at various levels (mathematical, physical, etc.). However, there is a gap between what science does and how science journalism reports on what science does. Science journalism constructs rather than describes science. Because science journalism is still journalism, it must tell a story rather than recapitulating what scientists do, and the telling of this story necessarily involves lexical choices, metaphors, and semantic structures that are sometimes arbitrary, sometimes ambiguous, and always at some distance removed from the actual...
The end:
.....Given the remarkably shoddy attitude of the articles in question to operationalize poverty and health (that is, to report the ways in which these phenomena have been oeprationalized by the scientists who study them), and the apparent ignorance of Bayesian and probabilistic methods of analysis, the science journalists surveyed here displayed little facility with scientific methods, even at second hand.
Jimenez, Maria
2009 Poverty May Affect Memory. The Globe and Mail, April 10: L1.
Lichfield, John
2009 Step Aside, Sartre. The Independent, January 13: 24.
Smith, Deborah
2008 Poverty and Poor Health in Gene Link. Sydney Morning Herald, November 11: 7.
Stein, Rob
2009 Data Tie Stress of Poverty to Brain. The Boston Globe, April 7: 11