Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123
LUIZ, Olinda do Carmo. Scientific journalism and epidemiological risk. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2007, vol.12, n.3, pp.717-726. ISSN 1678-4561. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232007000300022.
The importance of the communications media in the construction of symbols has been widely acknowledged. Many of the articles on health published in the daily newspapers mention medical studies, sourced from scientific publications focusing on new risks. The disclosure of risk studies in the mass media is also a topic for editorials and articles in scientific journals, focusing the problem of distortions and the appearance of contradictory news items. The purpose of this paper is to explore the meaning and content of disclosing scientific risk studies in large-circulation daily newspapers, analyzing news items published in Brazil and the scientific publications used as their sources during 2000. The "risk" is presented in the scientific research projects as a "black box" in the meaning of Latour, with the news items downplaying scientific disputes and underscoring associations between behavioral habits and the occurrence of diseases, emphasizing individual aspects of the epidemiological approach, to the detriment of the group.
Keywords : Epidemiological studies; Presentation of science [trends]; Periodicals [tendencies]; High-risk behavior; Scientific journalism.