Thanks for your interesting response to this week’s discussion questions. I noted in your post that your research team used the media in creating public awareness of VMCC. We also used the mass media in our project – radio announcements, newspaper reports e.t.c. What are your thoughts on the use of the media to disseminate information about a research project? In my opinion, the media can either be a good ally or be the bane of a trial. The media has a pivotal to play in shaping the opinions and attitudes of stakeholders and even the society at large. Poor reporting in the form of inaccuracies, sensationalism, selective reporting and so on can reinforce myths about a trial, cause stakeholders to misconstrue the trial results or contribute to premature closure of a trial.(1) To forestall such potential challenges, we identified the media as key stakeholders in the project and had a number of round table discussions in the early planning stages with representatives of local media; we trained journalists on the research and ensured that the media is represented on the community advisory board.
(1) Olsen CK, Kutner LA. (2008). The public’s understanding of research and the role of mass media. Media Psychology Review (Online) http://mprcenter.org/review/olson-electronic-media-ed/ (Accessed 26 September 2016)