New international media study on 'tar sands' versus 'oil sands' shows equal usage, and little relation to tone of coverage

TORONTO, June 26, 2013 /CNW/ - In the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks on climate change that referred to Canada's oil sands resources as "tar sands," a new study has been released on international media reporting of "oil sands" versus "tar sands" that indicates an almost even split in the use of the two terms worldwide.

A study of 31 newspapers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia over a twelve-month period, produced by Toronto-based Cormex Research, revealed that:

  1. Audiences were as likely to see the term "oil sands" as "tar sands" in media reports.
  2. The preference for either term varied considerably by newspaper, by reporter, and by sources quoted.
  3. The volume of media coverage of the issue has increased, almost doubling in the first quarter of 2013.
  4. The major share of reporting was neutral/balanced, but at least 34% of exposure was negative.
  5. There was only a weak relationship between the tone of the media's coverage of the resource and whether they referred to it as "oil sands" or "tar sands."

"Canadians should realize that people outside our country are exposed to a vigourous debate about the oil sands, just as we are witnessing it here in Canada," remarked Andrew Laing, author of the Cormex MediaLAB study.  "The study suggests that the efforts to brand the resource may have little actual consequence to how people outside of the country talk about it."

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.cormex.com/cormex/medialab_reports/Cormex_MediaLAB_APR2013_Oil_v_Tarsands.pdf.

For more information about the Cormex MediaLAB project, visit our website at www.cormex.com/medialab.

SOURCE: Cormex Research

For further information:

For further information on this report, contact:

Andrew Laing
President, Cormex Research
416.504.8236
medialab@cormex.com

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