Sharon Friedman — Professor and Director of the Science and Environmental Writing Program in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Lehigh University — has been gathering data regarding newspaper and wire coverage of nanotechnology for the past seven years. She presented her 2006 research data at the Project for Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars earlier this afternoon. Her data covers the 20 largest newspapers in the US, the 10 largest in the UK, plus the Associated Press and United Press International wires.
Professor Friedman found a large increase (50%) in the total number of newspaper articles dealing with nanotechnology in general in the US 2006. Her survey, however, indicates only a smaller increase in the number of articles touching upon alleged EHS and/or societal risks of nanomaterials. Specifically, Professor Friedman found 57 articles mentioning alleged EHS and/or societal risks published in the US in 2006, representing an additional 21 additional article-increase over 2005. In the UK she found 16 articles mentioning these topics, representing a 4 article-increase.
Interestingly, Professor Friedman’s study found only 163 articles in the US and 78 in the UK were published at least mentioning alleged EHS and/or societal risks in the during the seven years of 1999 through 2006. Detailed slides from Professor Friedman’s presentation can be found here.