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Colin Johnson’s blog

Handling of a University Press Release

Here is an interesting example of how the media handles a University press release:

It appears clear from the content that this came from some kind of media release put out by one of the universities or the funding council involved, with the intention of gathering positive publicity as well as engaging the public about the topic.

It looks as though the last four paragraphs are taken word-for-word from the release; they are positive in tone and informative. However, a spin has been put on them by the headline and the opening paragraph. The words “handed” and “costs” have a somewhat pejorative spin to them—there is a tone of this costing an excessive amount of money.

This mark an interesting divide between the academics’ view of this money and the public’s. In academia, having a large-value project (this isn’t a very large one) is seen as a validation, that people with influence in the field trust you with a project of that scale. Here, though, it is being touted as a cost: “What are we going to get with this money? Why should this “handout” have been made? Why does a poll cost so much?”

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