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Open AccessArticle

How Sharks and Shark–Human Interactions are Reported in Major Australian Newspapers

1
School of Strategy and Leadership, Faculty of Business and Law, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
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School of Science, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith 2751, Australia
3
SIGMA and Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072683
Received: 3 March 2020 / Revised: 20 March 2020 / Accepted: 26 March 2020 / Published: 29 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
Few phrases evoke more negative emotion, or generate more media coverage, than ‘shark attack’ despite the few deaths that have been attributed to shark bite. Typically, tabloids are considered to provide more sensational coverage than broadsheets. We investigated how sharks and shark–human interactions were portrayed in four major Australian newspapers during a period of a record number of shark attacks in Australian waters. There was strong focus on human risk from sharks, and over-reportage of negative aspects. Thirty incidents were recorded: two fatal, 20 injury, and eight ‘near-miss’. Of 309 ‘shark’ articles surveyed, 24% mentioned fatalities (65% occurred prior to the study, some decades earlier). Injury was reported in 40% of articles, and ‘near-miss’ in 33% (89% related to an incident in South Africa involving an Australian surfing celebrity). The tabloid, Telegraph, published substantially more shark-related articles and photographs than other newspapers. There was otherwise no consistent pattern of difference between genre or newspapers. View Full-Text
Keywords: biased reporting; anthropogenic focus; shark incidents; shark attacks; news media bias; genre bias reporting; shark conservation; marine ecosystems; ‘fake news’ biased reporting; anthropogenic focus; shark incidents; shark attacks; news media bias; genre bias reporting; shark conservation; marine ecosystems; ‘fake news’
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hardiman, N.; Burgin, S.; Shao, J. How Sharks and Shark–Human Interactions are Reported in Major Australian Newspapers. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2683.

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