Biotechnology in the news. Lessons from a quantitative analysis of news articles on biotechnology between July 2005 and June 2010

Research reports | 29.11.2011 | CGM 2011-12

Assuming that the media reflect to a large extend the public debate about biotechnology, both in reporting about this public debate and shaping it, COGEM commissioned a research project to analyse more than 22,700 news articles about biotechnology collected from a wide range of sources between July 2005 and July 2010. These articles were stored in a database with attached information concerning the source, the type of biotechnology, geographical information about the event and major interests described in each article. A pilot study with 3,460 articles collected during the first year confirmed the feasibility of an method of analysis that demonstrates differences in positioning of agricultural and medical biotechnology between continents and countries by plotting the average rating of a large number of articles on a diagram that visualizes the level of technology push in developments and dominance of private vs public interests in decisions taken. The results presented in this report concern an analysis of media articles in the period July 2006 – July 2010.

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