A balanced viewpoint

The safety of vaccines is often debated in the media, and they continue to be an important vehicle to convey emerging healthcare messages to the public. But how does a journalist determine what information is objective and accurate when there are two dominant and opposing views in this debate. According to a paper by Christopher Clarke of Cornell University, it is a question of having balanced reporting, which often means equally representing relevant information from both sides of the debate without consideration of the scientific accuracy. In fact, often when a vaccination crisis breaks there may be only limited scientific information to report on. Clarke defines this as “balance by quantity.” Although this may be perceived as the ideal form of reporting, supplying the public with all relevant information so they can then make an informed decision, media often does not follow this rule.

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