Thursday, January 27, 2005

Knowing who lobbies who, and who funds research

Keyword: Online Journalism. The Education Guardian reports on the SpinWatch website, what looks like an excellent resource for journalists. Written by researchers, journalists, and, now, anyone who wants to post, it aims to expose "hitherto unknown - or undeclared - links between organisations." There is some editorial control: the founder, David Miller, professor of sociology at the University of Strathclyde, says "All articles must have their sources checked and verified by the vetting committee before they are allowed to appear on the site."

Another quote from Miller make a compelling case for journalists using the site:
"You [The Guardian] ran a story about a report from the International Policy Network claiming that climate change was nowhere near as bad as had been previously thought," he says. "What you didn't say is that the IPN is a small company ... that has received a $50,000 (£27,000) donation from Exxon, the US oil giant. If your readers had been made aware of this, they might have read the article somewhat differently."

On a related subject, check out this book about how science, the media and public opinion is manipulated by industry. The page is on the PRWatch website, an organisation dedicated to monitoring the PR industry, and a site well worth exploring.

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