Our decision-making and conduct is influenced by what we read, see or hear. And many parts of our lives, from the food we eat to our quality of sleep, can in some way be linked back to scientific research. The media — aiming to inform or engage — can end up peppering readers with sensationalism, hype or inaccurate science stories that shape our day-to-day lives and how we perceive the value of science. But this could be avoided if science journalists update the way they report stories.
Public trust in media continues to hover near all-time lows, driven by perceptions that the news industry is partisan and peddles inaccurate information (“fake news”), as well as ambivalence about news from social media.
When word broke that the massacre in New Zealand was livestreamed on Facebook, I immediately thought of Robert Godwin Sr. In 2017, Godwin was murdered in Cleveland, Ohio, and initial reports indicated that the attacker streamed it on Facebook Live, at the time a relatively new feature of the social network. Facebook later clarified that the graphic video was uploaded after the event, but the incident called public attention to the risks of livestreaming violence.
Two basic rules of media ethics apply to the coverage of terrorism: avoid giving unnecessary oxygen to the terrorist, and avoid unnecessarily violating standards of public decency.
For people in the community who hear about such events or witness them on television, the news may be distressing but these feelings will typically abate in the following days and weeks. However, some people who watch these events unfold may be more affected because they trigger memories of past traumatic experiences in their own lives.
There has undoubtedly been a tendency in some quarters of New Zealand politics to assume we are living in a largely benign international environment. This is part of a troubling isolationist tendency in New Zealand politics that contributes to us not taking security seriously and investing in it accordingly. The Christchurch attacks have shattered these illusions.
Sharing this material can be highly problematic. In some past incidences of terrorism and hate crime, pictures of the wrong people have been published around the world on social and in mainstream media.
University of California’s break with the biggest academic publisher could shake up scholarly publishing for good
It was not just the clash-of-the-titans drama between the University of California, whose scholars produce nearly 10 percent of the nation’s research publications, and Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of academic research.
Even in theory, it is implausible that education and awareness campaigns alone will completely change people’s health behaviour. People’s actions are not just the result of an absence of knowledge.