Thursday, January 25, 2018

California's Stem Cell Story Gains National Attention on NPR

California's $3 billion stem cell research effort broke into national news this morning when National Public Radio (NPR) picked up a lengthy overview of the Golden State's 13-year-old program to develop therapies that could treat everything from cancer to incontinence.

While the story chronicled the pluses and minuses of the work of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM),  as the agency is formally known, overall the piece bolstered the agency's efforts to tell its story to millions of more persons. It could be said to fit into the category of "I don't care what you say about me, just as long as you spell my name right."

NPR says it reaches 99 million people monthly across its platforms.  Roughly 12 million of those persons are likely to be found in California, given that the state has about 12 percent of the nation's population.

The stem cell agency piece first appeared last week in California on the web site of a popular media outlet, KQED, which produces TV and radio news. KQED's syndicated California Report is expected to air a broadcast version of the story and has linked online to the longer version as well.

All of this meets the need of the agency to reach the millions of California voters who are likely to vote on a possible, $5 billion bond measure in November 2020. The agency is slated to run out of money by then and will whither away without additional cash.

While some in the media would be loath to admit it, they tend to run in packs, chasing the same stories for a variety of reasons. The widespread appearances of the article by David Gorn could well stimulate additional media coverage in the shorter term and also help to shape coverage over the next couple of years or so.

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