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“Under the Weather” / Could coverage of the Olympics be damaged by bad weather?

The weather and levels of air pollution may affect how favourably journalists report about the London 2012 Olympics, according to a study conducted by academics from Pennsylvania State University.

An analysis of newspaper coverage during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics claimed to show that as temperatures rose or air pollution increased, journalists were more likely to use negative language in stories.

But the study, Under the Weather: The Impact of Weather on U.S. Newspaper Coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, also noted that the tone of coverage can be affected by factors such as journalists living in an unknown country, deadline pressure, and personal feelings about a sporting event.

The authors of the research, Dr Bu Zhong from Penn State University and Dr Yong Zhou from Renmin University of China, have cautioned journalists to be aware of potential bias.

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