Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Update - Pacific Islands story wrong journal quoted

ABC have replied to our request they amend a report titled "Pacific islands growing, not sinking" posted ABC News Online 3/6/2010 to provide the correct primary source. The report covered recent research that indicates that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking, as claimed by the IPCC. In its report the ABC suggests the findings were published in New Scientist magazine "The findings, published in the magazine New Scientist". As we demonstrated in our complaint the findings were actually published in the journal Global and Planetary Change. The journal article is by Andrew Webb and Paul Kench and is titled "The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific". The DOI is
ABC's statement about the source of the work is misleading, especially in the context of publication of peer reviewed science. We have asked ABC Complaints Review Executive to review the complaint lest we end up with secondary sources being made to appear as primary in future ABC reports. Based on ABC's assessment below the following statement would be considered passable:
"Findings published in the Sydney Morning Herald suggest that..."
"Recent research published in Womens Day..."
"Research published in the National Inquirer finds..."

We have suggested once again ABC correctly attribute the source of the research findings and amend their report.

The full reply appears below...
Received 27/7/2010
Thank you for your email of 3 June concerning the ABC News Online article “Pacific islands growing, not sinking” published that day. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.
In keeping with ABC complaint handling procedures, your concerns have been considered by Audience and Consumer Affairs, a unit separate to and independent from ABC program areas. In light of your concerns, we have assessed the sentence of the article to which you refer against the ABC’s editorial requirement for accuracy in news and current affairs content, as outlined in section 5.2.2(c) of the ABC’s Editorial Policies: In the interests of procedural fairness, we have also sought and considered material from ABC News.
The story reported that new research had identified that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking, challenging the view that Pacific islands are sinking due to rising sea levels associated with climate change. As you point out, the story referred to the findings as having been published in the magazine New Scientist. New Scientist is a weekly science magazine and website providing coverage of recent developments in science and technology, and it published a story about the research and its findings:
On review, Audience and Consumer Affairs do not agree the article’s reference to the findings having been published in New Scientist magazine was inaccurate. As noted above, details of the research and its findings were published in New Scientist. While we appreciate that the full research paper was published in the peer-reviewed journal to which you refer, and this may be of interest to some readers, we are satisfied that reference to the findings being published in New Scientist magazine was accurate and in keeping with section 5.2.2(c) of the ABC’s Editorial Policies.
Notwithstanding this, please be assured that your comments have been noted and conveyed to ABC News management. Thank you again for taking the time to write, and for your interest in the ABC. For your reference, a copy of the ABC Code of Practice is available at:

Yours sincerely
Audience & Consumer Affairs

1 comment:

  1. Furthermore, why did this story not appear on the ABC TV or radio news? Blatant bias by the ABC.


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