Book Review

17/06/2016

BOOK: Content is king; News media management in the digital age.
Graham, G., Greenhill, A., Shaw, D.Andvargo, C., Eds (2015), London, U.K.: Bloomsbury

The ‘traditional’ media industry ― newspapers and magazines and the like ― have had a difficult time lately thanks to increasing competition online. This book's chapters consider ways the traditional media can reinvent themselves to secure their future. Two key themes that emerge from the chapters are the importance of building communities and the increasing role of credibility in today's highly-competitive media landscape. While this book does not focus on the science media, many of the conclusions are relevant to it, in fact some are cause for comfort for those involved with science journalism.

24/11/2015

The ever-changing nature of academic science communication discourse can make it challenging for those not intimately associated with the field ― scientists and science-communication practitioners or new-comers to the field such as graduate students ― to keep up with the research. This collection of articles provides a comprehensive overview of the subject and serves as a thorough reference book for students and practitioners of science communication.

19/12/2014

In this book, Brian G. Southwell discusses how disparities in information-sharing arise and what can be done to alleviate them. In all sorts of ways and for all sorts of reasons, people have always sought to share information among their family and other social networks. However, this sharing has never been equal: inevitably, some people are better-informed than others and some are more socially-connected than others. At first glance, the plethora of communication tools and technologies available nowadays should help democratise information and reduce disparity but differences in how, when and with whom information is shared create conversation gaps and maintain inequalities. Southwell explores and catalogues information-sharing behaviours, discusses the factors that affect how and why we share information and addresses the questions of why disparities in information-sharing matter and what we can do about the gaps between ‘information-haves’ and ‘information have-nots’.

21/09/2011

The Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication has approximately 300 entries on science communication and is capable of meeting the needs of readers of differing profiles. The entries cover eighteen categories, including controversial science topics and tendencies of media coverage; panoramas of science communication in different regions or continents; legal and ethical aspects; important science players; history, philosophy and sociology of science; theories and research on science communication, and many other topics. By concentrating different information about a field of research and of practical multidisciplinary actions in only one source, the publication serves as a reference for beginners in the area as well as for those who are more experienced in the area. Although conceptualized to serve as quick introductions to the concepts and practices of science communication, the entries are contextualized and each item is explored from various angles in simple language.

21/12/2010

Eduard Kaeser has written an interesting and critical book that is concerned with the connections between science and everyday life. The conception of ‘pop science’ is introduced to characterize developments in science popularisation that are spectacular, superficial and potentially harmful to science-society relationships. The book is of special interest to the science communication community, since it may initiate discussion about the purposes of communicating science, and also about legitimate and illegitimate strategies and means of doing so.

22/03/2010

The Makers is the latest novel of the American science fiction writer, blogger and Silicon Valley intellectual Cory Doctorow. Set in the 2010s, the novel describes the possible impact of the present trend towards the migration of modes of production and organization that have emerged online into the sphere of material production. Called New Work, this movement is indebted to a new maker culture that attracts people into a kind of neo-artisan, high tech mode of production. The question is: can a corporate-funded New Work movement be sustainable? Doctorow seems to suggest that a capitalist economy of abundance is unsustainable because it tends to restrict the reach of its value flows to a privileged managerial elite.

30/10/2009

In his latest book titled “Communication power”, the famous sociologist of information society Manuel Castells focuses on the way in which power takes shape and acts in information societies, and the role of communication in defining, structuring, and changing it. From the rise of “mass self-communication” to the role of environmental movements and neuropolitics, the network is the key structure at play and the main lens used to analyse the transformations we are witnessing. To support his thesis Castells links media studies, power theory and brain science, but his insistence on networks puts in danger his ability to give to his readers a comprehensive and coherent interpretative framework.

21/09/2009

The volume “Il libro contemporaneo” (The Contemporary Book) by Giuseppe Vitiello offers a global view of the “book” as a model and as an instrument of communication and for learning in the society of knowledge; it specifically deals with scientific editorial communication, through a complete and systematic reconstruction of the bodies involved, of the production and dissemination processes, also in the framework of the technological changes pushed by new media. In particular, the author critically analyzes some relevant aspects such as the role played by the journal as the most relevant mean for scientific knowledge dissemination, the scientific writer figure, the strengthening of large publishing groups and the challenge open access implies.

21/09/2009

In January this year, the US saw the publication of the preview of an impressive review work on the practices and the studies concerning learning science outside schools and universities, i.e. what is referred to as informal education. The document, promoted by the National Science Council of scientific academies (National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine), is the result of the work by a committee comprising 14 specialists who collected, discussed and then organized hundreds of documents on pedagogical premises, places, practices and pursuits concerning scientific informal education. Nobody doubts that museums, magazines, after-school activities, science festivals and any other science communication offers have a positive impact on the people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. But what do we really know about what actually happens in these experiences? What sense should be given to the word “learning” in these cases? Do the different communication tools or environments have also a different impact? What factors make them more or less effective? These are the main questions the document wants to answer, carefully evaluating the present state of the art.

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