<b>The Candlin Researcher Award:</b> Balancing journalists’ and scientists’ professional practices

Producing an infotainment show about food and nutrition in the age of healthism and soft news


  • Jana Declercq Ghent University




food, health journalism, linguistic ethnography, news production, nutrition, professional practices


This paper analyses how health-related media content is produced by the editorial board of an infotainment TV show on food. Health-related news and other media content is on the rise, and impacts laypeople’s health knowledge, their behaviour, the public agenda and governmental policy. At the same time, it is criticized for being inaccurate, badly framed and sensationalist. This is generally attributed to the difficulty of linearly ‘translating’ scientific findings into journalistic findings, which results in the collision between scientific and journalistic perspectives and practices. This paper questions the idea that producing health-related media content is just linear translation, and looks into how two current societal trends, the rise of healthism and soft news, shape the production process. Drawing on linguistic ethnographic data from fieldwork at the editorial board of the show, two case studies are analysed qualitatively and in-depth to gain deeper insight in the complex dynamics of producing health-related media content. The data show that producing health-related media-content indeed is not a matter of translating biomedical science to a journalistic perspective, but of intense coproduction of journalistic and scientific practices, and nowadays as well as of coproduction with new, non-scientific pseudo-experts and pseudo-scientific practices.

Author Biography

Jana Declercq, Ghent University

Jana Declercq is a postdoctoral researcher at Linguistics department of Ghent University (Belgium), who defended her PhD on the production of health news in 2018. In her postdoctoral work, she focuses on discourses of health, illness and the body both in mass media, social media, and clinical contexts, using discourses analysis, corpus linguistics and ethnographic methods.


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How to Cite

Declercq, J. (2018). <b>The Candlin Researcher Award:</b> Balancing journalists’ and scientists’ professional practices: Producing an infotainment show about food and nutrition in the age of healthism and soft news. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 13(1-3), 393-416. https://doi.org/10.1558/japl.35586



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