When we cover cybersecurity, we often veer towards dramatised and futuristic language around hackers, robots and advanced technology. But these narratives are both unhelpful for audiences and offputting to experts who are then reluctant to speak to the press. But during the pandemic especially, many stories about online safety, such as data breaches on Zoom or online scams, made the news.
You can understand the temptation for a journalist to try and spruce up the story with images of Terminator or V from the film 'V for Vendetta'. Many stories on web hacking, for example, can be too dull and detailed for the general public. And more often than not, experts do not realise that their jargon can leave readers scratching heads.
One independent journalist is trying to close these knowledge gaps. Catherine Chapman has reported on cybersecurity for more than a decade and is also the author of a small but specialised survey into how the media reports on this topic. Her white paper was presented at a cybersecurity conference last November.
She found that two thirds of cybersecurity experts working for the likes of Google, Amazon and the US government consider mainstream media outlets at times inaccurate, biased and sensationalised when it comes to reporting this subject.
In this week's podcast, Chapman talks more about the findings from her research and to what extent journalists need to sweat these nuances.
Free daily newsletter
- Newsrewired special: Your main takeaways from our digital journalism conference
- 100 days of war: What has international media learned from covering Ukraine?
- The role of the journalist in a polarised world
- Five questions for every newsroom to ask themselves on World Press Freedom Day
- Why autistic people can be great journalists