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"Throw a koala on the barbie" (Daily Telegraph 15 July 1997): an analysis of wildlife reporting in two daily newspapers

Daniel Lunney and Alison Matthews

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Biodiversity Research and Management Division PO Box 1967 Hurstville NSW 2220

ABSTRACT

We undertook an analysis of wildlife reporting in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Doily Telegraph over a year to October 1997 to determine which species and issues were the favourites, what were the angles, context and language of the presentation, and how scientists, especially zoologists, fared in the reporting.The following conclusions were drawn: there was a sustained media interest in animals; animal welfare was the dominant theme; risk to humans was the second most important issue; and although scientists were consistently mentioned,science as a subject had only a low profile in the daily papers. Australian animals, rather than international animals and issues, dominated the reporting. Mammals received most attention, followed by birds. reptiles and fish. Invertebrates were poorly represented and most mentions of these were hostile. There was a select group of journalists who serve zoologists and zoology well, and zoologists wanting to share their research with the general public were given scope beyond the sensational and human-interest stories.

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