Virtual Society? logo

HomeSearchOverviewWhoProjectsReportsEventsJoinResources

Virtual Society? 
Recent media storm: on reflection

The Sad Business School at the University of Oxford arranged a meeting between Steve Woolgar and several journalists at a Press Lunch in London on 29 November 2000. There followed a massive surge of media interest (print, Internet and broadcast media) in Virtual Society? research, some sources for which are listed below. This in turn lead to a deluge of enquiries to the Oxford office and to the External Relations Office at the ESRC, an enhanced rate of hits to the Virtual Society? website and several hundred requests for copies of PROFILE 2000. The media coverage also generated further discussion and debate, some of which is documented online (see for example, zdnet.co.uk archives)

The quality of the coverage has, of course, been immensely variable. Some of the broadsheets, (notably Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian) and Radio 4 (Hugh Sykes on the PM Programme) stuck quite closely to the central story line that some outcomes/impacts can be counter-intuitive and unpredictable. As the storm unfolded, less careful coverage increasingly emphasised singular aspects of the research and built sensational stories around them. The Metro (a freebie paper for London tube travellers) apparently reported that 30 million people in the UK had stopped using the Internet. Some teenagers dropping off according to a US survey has been turned into the end of the Internet, the Internet is dead, no one is using the Internet anymore. When Steve Woolgar refused (on BBC Radio Scotland 7.12.00) to concur with the proposal that "there is no longer any point in buying a computer" he was told he was spoiling a good headline. By the time Channel 4 News got hold of it, Virtual Society? research had been turned into the anti-story: "although some researchers are saying that no one is using the Internet, in fact Channel 4 can reveal that lots of people are still using it."

Watch this space.

Virtual Society? has been included in the following:
BBC Online
ZDNet.co.uk
Independent Online

Die Zeit (Germany) – October 2000
Newsbytes - 4 December 2000
The Daily Telegraph– 4 December 2000
The National Post (Canada) 4 December 2000
Metro – 4 December 2000
The Guardian – 5 December 2000
The Independent – 5 December 2000
The Times – 5 December 2000
The Daily Mail - 5 December 2000
The Scotsman - 5 December 2000
The Evening Standard (London) - 5 December 2000
Daily News Campaign - 5 December 2000
Metropol Zrich (Switzerland) – 6 December 2000
The Weekly Telegraph – 6 December 2000
New Straits Times - 6 December 2000
The Evening Standard (London) - 8 December 2000
Evening Post – Greater Bristol – 8 December 2000
Cabinet Maker - 8 December 2000
Town Hall – 11 December 2000
Malay Mail - 11 December 2000
The Financial Times - 12 December 2000
Revolution Magazine – 13 December 2000
PBW News – 15 December 2000
Der Spiegel (Germany) - 18 December 2000
The Times Higher - 22 December 2000
El Pas (Spain) - 24 December 2000
The Daily Telegraph - 26 December 2000
The Times – 29 December 2000
Pagina/12 (Argentina) - 21 January 2001
Liberation (France)

To appear in 2001:
The Spectator
Freelance Informer
GEO Magazine (Germany) March 2001
UNESCO Courier – February 2001

Virtual Society? researchers have given recent interviews to the following:
Canadian Newstalk 570 - 4 December 2000
Canadian Talk TV - 4 December 2000
Canadian Broadcasting Radio – 4 December 2000
BBC World Service - 5 December 2000 and 10 January 2001
BBC Radio Birmingham – 5 December 2000
Radio 24 Italy – 5 December 2000
Radio Bloomberg, New York – 6 December 2000
Austrian Radio (Youth FM4), Vienna – 6 December 2000
BBC Radio Scotland - 7 December 2000
BBC Radio 5 Live "Sunday Service" – 10 December 2000
BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat - 14 December 2000
Channel 4 News – 18 December 2000
BBC Radio 4 PM Programme - 20 December 2000
BBC Radio Scotland - 20 December 2000
Seattle Radio
Radio New Zealand
BBC World Service - 10 January 2001

HomeSearchOverviewWhoProjectsReportsEventsJoinResources

Return to top of page

Page developed by Christine Hine
Page maintained by Marike van Harskamp
Contents current at 19th November 2001