SMC Media Tracker: Jan – Feb 2010

Following on from the inaugural SMC Media Tracker at the end of last year, the Science Media Centre has continued to track the incidence of science-related coverage in media.

(Click on the picture to enlarge it)

media tracker jan-feb 2010
SMC Media Tracker Jan-Feb 2010

The weekly news  cycle can again be clearly seen, with coverage dropping off over the weekend and peaking during the week. January is always a quiet-time for science-related stories, with the volume of these decreasing relative to other months.

There were also a few distinct events of interest which caused specific peaks in the graph.

  • 6/7th Jan: The peak in the mention of Research Organisations was due to NIWA (and other organisations) confirming that the 2000s had been the warmest decade on record for New Zealand and Australia.
  • 28th Jan: the slight rise in coverage of Genetic Modification could be attributed to the visit of Dr Nina Fedoroff, Hilary Clinton’s science advisor.  Dr Fedoroff gave a speech saying that genetic modification should be pursued as a means of dealing with the imminent food crisis.
  • 28th/29th Jan: The full sequence of a rumen methanogen, sequenced by NZ scientists, was released, with corresponding peaks in both Research Organisations and Pastoral Greenhouse Gases coverage.
  • 3rd/4th Feb: The Lancet withdrew Dr Andrew Wakefield’s controversial paper claiming a link between autism and the MMR vaccine (SMC Alert here)
  • 9th Feb: The Prime Minister’s statement to parliament, touching on subjects including science, innovation and agriculture.
  • 17th/18th Feb: The announcement that University of Otago researchers had developed a cheap, simple urine test to detect failing kidneys – a significant breakthrough as the only current means to do so are invasive and expensive

The next SMC Media Tracker, looking at statistics for March will be released in early April.