EurekAlert! survey confirms challenges for science communicators in the post-print era

part of The role of institutional science communication

An informal, online survey of 1,059 reporters and public information officers, conducted this year by EurekAlert! (, the science-news Web service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), seems to confirm key challenges associated with communicating science in a post-print, increasingly multi-media-focused era. As many newspapers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other regions continue to down-size, reporters still covering science and technology say they increasingly need good-quality images, as well as rapid access to researchers capable of making science more understandable to lay audiences. The EurekAlert! findings, released 16 August during the Euroscience Open Forum 2006 meeting in Munich, Germany, suggest that beyond the predictable reporter concerns of learning about breaking research news before the competition or the public, top concerns for today’s reporters are “finding researchers who can explain science,” and “obtaining photographs or other multimedia to support the story.” Judging the trustworthiness or integrity of scientific findings while avoiding “hype” also emerged as key concerns for 614 reporters who participated in the EurekAlert! survey, along with 445 public information officers.