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Technophobia towards emerging technologies? A comparative analysis of the media coverage of nanotechnology in Austria, Switzerland and Germany


Metag, J; Marcinkowski, F (2014). Technophobia towards emerging technologies? A comparative analysis of the media coverage of nanotechnology in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Journalism, 15(4):463-481.

Abstract

This article examines, through a systematic study of the German, Swiss and Austrian media framing of nanotechnology, whether the concept of a journalistic negativity bias applies to the media coverage of nanotechnology. According to this objectivist approach of risk communication, the media coverage of emerging technologies used to be comparatively too negative. However, the concept has been debated through studies revealing a positivity bias and approaches focusing on contextual elements of journalism. A standardized content analysis of German, Swiss and Austrian print media from 2000 to 2009 analyzes whether negativity bias applies to the media coverage of nanotechnology. We find the media coverage to be predominantly very positive with barely any critical coverage opposing this one-sided perspective of progress. The hypothesis of journalistic technophobia and negativity bias is not supported by the media coverage of nanotechnology. Rather, the results suggest that the media are promoting new technologies.

Abstract

This article examines, through a systematic study of the German, Swiss and Austrian media framing of nanotechnology, whether the concept of a journalistic negativity bias applies to the media coverage of nanotechnology. According to this objectivist approach of risk communication, the media coverage of emerging technologies used to be comparatively too negative. However, the concept has been debated through studies revealing a positivity bias and approaches focusing on contextual elements of journalism. A standardized content analysis of German, Swiss and Austrian print media from 2000 to 2009 analyzes whether negativity bias applies to the media coverage of nanotechnology. We find the media coverage to be predominantly very positive with barely any critical coverage opposing this one-sided perspective of progress. The hypothesis of journalistic technophobia and negativity bias is not supported by the media coverage of nanotechnology. Rather, the results suggest that the media are promoting new technologies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:07 Feb 2014 07:36
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 08:34
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:1741-3001
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884913491045

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