Framing Bioethics: A Decade of Controversy over Stem Cell Research in the Spanish Press—El País and ABC (1996–2006)

By Cristina Rodriguez Luque.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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This study presents the results of analyzing 480 articles focused on the bioethics of stem cell research that were collected from the web archives of two prestigious daily papers in Spain situated at the two extremes of the ideological spectrum: “El País” (257 articles) and “ABC” (223). The sample was retrieved by searching for the keywords “células madre” and “célula troncal” in articles from 1996 to 2006, after coding for the presence of the “ethics frame” in the total sample, which consisted of 2,481 articles employing a greater variety of “frames.” The method is content analysis, with a coding sheet previously used in The New York Times and The Washington Post. The variables studied are format, main topic, mention of the sources of stem cells, political arena, actors, and the combination of the ethics frame with other frames used by journalists. Stem cell research had been a controversial issue in the Spanish press since the beginning of this decade, until a new law, the “Law of Biomedical Research,” was introduced in 2006, allowing therapeutic cloning and research on frozen embryos and embryonic stem cells. This issue is treated differently by mass media located in Spanish, European and North American contexts. The results of this study show how stem cell research has been framed by the media as a subject of bioethics in combination with politics.

Keywords: Bioethics, Stem Cell, Framing, Content Analysis, Spanish Press

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.79-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.016MB).

Dr. Cristina Rodriguez Luque

Collaborator Professor / Sub-Editor and News Editor in Radio CEU, Department of Audiovisual Communication, Public Relations & Advertisement, Faculty of Social Science and Law, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, Alfara del Patriarca, Valencia, Spain

Major in Journalism in CEU San Pablo University (Madrid) in June 2005 with the best calification. Grant FPI (Researcher and Teaching Personnel) from CEU Cardinal Herrera University from October to May 2006. Public Grant FPI from the Regional Government of Valencia from May 2006–October 2009. PhD with European Mention “Media Coverage of Stem Cell Research from the perspective of Framing. El País y ABC (1996–2006)” with Sobresaliente cum Laude, supervised by Professor of Physiology Javier Romero Gomez and Dr. Elvira Garcia de Torres. Visitor research fellow in the School of Journalism and in the Life Science Communication Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in The London School of Economics. Currently, combining teaching and researching with professional practice of Journalism ad Sub-Editor and News Editor in Radio CEU and news writer editing local news in COPE Valencia. Member of the research team in the Institute of Drugs and Addictive Behavior (IDYCA) with three projects about media coverage of drugs in Spanish and European level. She has presented several papers at international meetings in Specialized, Health and Science Journalism and published some articles in Spanish journals of Communication.