Journalists, Cognition, and the Presentation of an Epidemiologic Study
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Cognitive processes can inform an understanding of newswork. In this case study, the authors examine a growing literature relating cognitive theories to newsmaking and then apply some of the principles in that literature to media coverage of EPA-mandated reformulated gasoline in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In an analysis of how local Milwaukee television news presented an epidemiologic study answering health complaints associated with the gasoline additive, the authors find a number of cognitive processes at work, especially those involving bias and error. Finally, the authors consider implications of such processes for newsmaking.