Thursday, August 03, 2006

Heifer Blitzes Stem Cell Coverage

The day following approval of an unprecedented $152 million embryonic stem cell research program in California, the Los Angeles Times, the state's most prestigious and largest newspaper, carried not one word on the subject – at least in its online version.

But it did have room for a story with the following headline: "Heifer Escapes at Fair, Knocks Down Pursuer."

While there is no doubt there is plenty of room for lightness in today's ponderous press, it does seem there is something a bit askew in this case in the news priorities at the Times.

The Times, however, had some company. The Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle also failed to publish stories on the grant program. Again, this is based on a look at their Web sites. There is a possibility that stories appeared in the print version of the paper but did not make it onto the Internet. The case of the Chronicle is particularly interesting since CIRM is basically a hometown story. Its headquarters are located in the city and yesterday's Oversight Committee meeting was held in San Francisco.

We found coverage of Wednesday's CIRM Oversight Committee meeting in the San Jose Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune and the San Diego Union Tribune. The stories contained few surprises, however. Such is the case on a story with a lot of meat and all of it coming from one source – in this case, CIRM.

Here are links to the stories: Steve Johnson, San Jose; Rebecca Vesely, Oakland, Terri Somers, San Diego.

Here are links to background documents from CIRM on the grants program: Purpose and structure, Power Point presentation by CIRM President Zach Hall.

(Late breaking development: Following posting of this item, sources confirmed that the LA Times, Chronicle and The Bee did not carry stories on the grant program in their print editions.)

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