Study shows majority of shark media coverage is negative

Is negative media coverage contributing to a public ‘image problem’ for sharks?

According to Phys.org, researchers from Michigan State University revealed that Australian and U.S. media coverage regarding sharks primarily focused on shark attacks. Results from the study, which appears in Conservation Biology, indicated that over half of global shark-related media coverage focused on attacks on humans. Additionally, sharks were “portrayed negatively” in approximately 60% of media coverage, according to Phys.org. In comparison, only about 10% of media coverage focused on shark conservation and 7% focused on shark biology/ecology.

The researchers involved in the study suggested that the negative portrayal of sharks in the media could be having an impact on conservation efforts, due to sharks having a public “image” problem. Dr. Meredith Gore, a researcher involved in the study, suggested that balancing media coverage with “positive” articles focusing on that relative risk of attacks, measures to prevent attacks, and conservation issues could help improve the public view of sharks.

For more information, check out “Shark: Bad creatures or bad image?” at Phys.org.

You can read the journal article “Australian and U.S. News Media Portrayal of Sharks and Their Conservation” at Wiley.com.

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