Non-News Values in Science Journalism

  • Felicity Mellor
Part of the Global Issues Series book series (GLOISS)


In February 2011, a team of scientists announced that they couldn’t see the space beneath a lump of crystal.1 Of course, they didn’t put it quite like that in their paper in Nature Communications and nor did the journalists who picked up the story. Rather, converting a highly constrained instance of nonseeing into a newsworthy event, both scientists and journalists referred instead to the creation of an “invisibility cloak.” As the Daily Star put it: “Scientists have created a real-life Harry Potter style ‘invisibility cloak’.”2


News Article News Report News Coverage Daily Mail Transformation Optic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Zhang, B., Luo, Y., Liu, X., and G. Barbastathis. 2011. “Macroscopic invisibility cloak for visible light,” Physical Review Letters 106: 033901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 4.
    Pendry, J.B., Schurig, D., and D.R. Smith. 2006. “Controlling electromagnetic fields,” Science 312: 1780–1782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    Schurig, D., Mock, J.J., Justice, B.J., Cummer, S.A., Pendry, J.B., Starr, A.F., and D.R. Smith. 2006. “Metamaterial electromagnetic cloak at microwave frequencies,” Science 314: 977–980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    Galtung, J. and M.H. Ruge. 1965. “The structure of foreign news,” The Journal of Peace Research 2(1): 64–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 7.
    Bell, A. 1991. The Language of News Media. Oxford: Blackwell: 156–158.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Kirby, D. 2011. Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    For the intersection of fictional narrative and science in the case of asteroid research, see Mellor, F. 2007. “Colliding worlds: Asteroid research and the legitimization of war in space,” Social Studies of Science 37(4): 499–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 13.
    Badenschier, F. and H. Wormer. 2012. “Issue selection in science journalism: Towards a special theory of new values for science news?” in S. Rödder et al. (eds). The Sciences’ Media Connection—Public Communication and its Repercussions. Sociology of Sciences Yearbook 28: 59–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 14.
    See, for example, Mellor, F., Webster, S., and A.R. Bell. 2011. Content Analysis of the BBC’s Science Coverage. London: BBC Trust, (;Google Scholar
  10. Bauer, M. 1998. “The medicalisation of science news: From the ‘rocket scapel’ to the ‘gene-meteorite’ complex,” Social Science Information 37(4): 731–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 15.
    Schünemann, S. 2013. “Science journalism,” in B. Turner and R. Orange (eds). Specialist Journalism. Abingdon: Routledge: 134–146 at 136. See alsoGoogle Scholar
  12. Hansen, A. 1994. “Journalistic practices and science reporting in the British press,” Public Understanding of Science 3: 111–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 16.
    Harcup, T. and D. O’Neill. 2001. “What is news? Galtung and Ruge revisited,” Journalism Studies 2(2): 261–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 17.
    Bauer, M.W. and J. Gregory. 2007. “From journalism to corporate communication in post-war Britain,” in M.W. Bauer and M. Bucchi (eds). Journalism, Science and Society: Science Communication between News and Public Relations. London: Routledge: 33–51.Google Scholar
  15. 18.
    Nelkin, D. 1987. Selling Science: How the Press Covers Science and Technology. New York: W.H. Freeman: 175.Google Scholar
  16. 22.
    Lexchin, J., Bero, L.A., Djulbegovic, B., and O. Clark. 2003. “Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: Systematic review,” BMJ 326: 1167–1170;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sismondo, S. 2008. “Pharmaceutical company funding and its consequences: A qualitative systematic review,” Contemporary Clinical Trials 29: 109–113;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lundh, A., Sismondo, S., Lexchin, J., Busuioc, O.A., and L. Bero. 2013. “Industry sponsorship and research outcome,” Cochrane Database Systematic Review 12: MR000033. doi: 10.1002/14651858. mr000033.pub2.Google Scholar
  19. 23.
    Langley, C. and S. Parkinson. 2009. Science and the Corporate Agenda: The Detrimental Effects of Commercial Infl uence on Science and Technology. Lancaster: Scientists for Global Responsibility ( 8.Google Scholar
  20. 27.
    For example, Shelby, R.A., Smith, D.R., and S. Schultz. 2001 “Experimental verification of a negative index of refraction,” Science 292(5514) April 6: 77–79;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Parazzoli, C.G., Greegor, R.B., Li, K., Koltenbah, B.E.C., and M. Tanielian. 2003. “Experimental verification and simulation of negative index of refraction using Snell’s Law,” Physical Review Letters 90: 107401;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Alù, A. and N. Engheta. 2005. “Achieving transparency with plasmonic and metamaterial coatings,” Physical Review E, 72, 016623; Pendry et al. op. cit. note 4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 28.
    Pendry, J.B., Holden, A.J., Stewart, W.J., and I. Youngs. 1996. “Extremely low frequency plasmons in metallic mesostructures,” Physical Review Letters 76(25): 4773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 37.
    For example, Boykoff, M. and J. Boykoff. 2004. “Balance as bias: Global warming and the US prestige press,” Global Environmental Change 14: 125–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 42.
    See, for example, Mellor, F. 2008. “Left unsaid: The marginalisation of scientist-critics in the media coverage of controversial technologies,” in A.R. Bell, S.R. Davies, and F. Mellor (eds). Science and its Publics. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing: 157–178.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Felicity Mellor 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felicity Mellor

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations