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Managing the boundaries between maverick cloners and mainstream scientists: the life cycle of a news event in a contested field

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In January 2004, the 'maverick cloner', Dr Panos Zavos called a press conference in London to announce that he had implanted a freshly cloned human embryo in the womb of an infertile woman. Reports of this press conference gained prominent coverage in the national newspapers the following day and led television bulletins that evening. This article discusses the ways in which expertise was claimed by or attributed to Dr Zavos and other key media sources. It argues that three key boundaries were demarcated in the coverage as journalists framed the stories in terms provided by Zavos's antagonists, 'mainstream scientists'. It also discusses the engagement in tactics of news management by an organised grouping of UK scientists who attempted to shape the terrain of news coverage on the subject of cloning. The question of the extent to which interested scientists should be able to set the terms of media debate is explored.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ESRC Centre for Economics and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen), Cardiff University, Wales

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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