Structuring public debate on biotechnology: Media frames and public response

Document Type



A study of themes arising within focus group discussions of U.S. lay publics (both student and nonstudent adults) in response to newspaper coverage of biotechnology is consistent with the assertion that media frames and reader schemas interact to produce an understanding of a newly emerging issue. Newspaper coverage heavily dominated by institutional sources and dealing with only a narrow range of issues may be limiting the terms of public debate in an unhealthy way. Readers reason by analogy with related and sometimes unrelated developments in trying to understand biotechnology, based on schemas reflecting their general understanding of science.


Biotechnology – Public opinion; Communication in science; Mass media; Newspapers; Press; Science news


Biotechnology | Communication | Journalism Studies | Science and Technology Policy | Science and Technology Studies

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