Study on the use of scientific evidence as an argument in science stories about complementary therapies in the main Spanish digital dailies (2015-2017)
Moreno Tarín, S. (2019). Estudio sobre el uso de la evidencia científica como argumento en los relatos periodísticos sobre terapias complementarias en los principales diarios digitales. Dígitos. Revista de Comunicación Digital, 5, pp. 122-152.
The set of techniques related to health which fall within the concept of traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) are increasingly demanded and used throughout the world. In Spain, practically the entire population knows some of these therapies and almost a quarter of the population has used them as a medical treatment. Consequently, this phenomenon arouses interest among the medical and scientific communities and is becoming an increasingly recurring topic on the Spanish media agenda. This study analyzes the weight of ‘scientific evidence’ as an argument on the debate about unconventional therapies through the flows of information which are disseminated in the digital newspapers with the highest audience in Spain in the three years 2015-2017. The analysis focuses on two types of stories whose main subject is related to homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology or chiromassage. On the one hand, is studied the science stories which adopts a favorable stance and, on the other hand, the science news with a skeptic perspective on the matter, all of them published in the following digital dailies: El Periódico, El País, El Mundo, La Vanguardia, and ABC. The results show a significant underrepresentation of the scientifically proven efficacy of the TCM, as journalistic writing, offering the public incomplete and confusing arguments in this regard.
Complementary medicine, scientific evidence, science news, science journalism, digital journalism.