Contributions of literary journalism to science journalism – A case study of a Brazilian magazine
Author: Luís Amorim
Created in 2006, Piauí (a monthly magazine) is the most important of the few representatives in Brazil of the literary journalism genre – or “New Journalism”, the expression it first received from journalists and writers like Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese. The magazine covers different fields and science is one of the topics that receives great attention. Studies on media coverage of science have raised recurrent criticisms, such as: a tendency of overreaction about the results of a research; the overemphasis on a positive view of science; the stereotyping of the scientists image, the lack of different sources and specialists, the little attention given to the social construction of science, as well as to controversy themes.
In order to explore these aspects on Piauí stories, we are carrying out a study using a content analysis and some qualitative tools. Our sample was defined out of a search made of four keywords on the Piauí website, from which we got a total of 140 texts. In order to have a more in-depth analysis, we selected 42 representative texts. One of our main questions is whether the critics about the science journalism remains or not when this genre is combined with literary journalism. Our results indicate that the publication approach can help to create a scientific culture, by giving more editorial space, voice to different actors and by dealing with literary techniques that opens a door towards critical and more profound covering.