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Jul 08, 2020 Article
Expertise and communicating about infectious disease: a case study of uncertainty and rejection of local knowledge in discourse of experts and decision makers

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Mel Taylor and Nancy Longnecker

Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Jun 22, 2020 Practice Insight
Mission Mosquito: building and expanding an international network for innovation in health communication

by Tanya Maslak, Kia Henry, Natasha Sadoff, David Maurice Jones, Joshua Glasser and Amy Leibrand

The Mission Mosquito Information Sharing Program (ISP), a collaboration between the U.S. Department of State and Battelle Memorial Institute, is a public diplomacy effort to build and expand an international network of health communicators to increase engagement on mosquito-borne disease. Nineteen professionals from countries experiencing mosquito-borne diseases engaged in a two-week multi-directional information exchange across the United States in May 2018. Program alumni applied knowledge and tools from the ISP in follow-on projects and public outreach campaigns in their home countries. This paper summarizes the ISP and lessons learned, and highlights a science communication case study examining skills and understanding gained.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

Jun 16, 2020 Commentary
Are we Foot and Mouth Disease ready?

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Marta Hernandez-Jover, Lynne Hayes, Barton Loechel, Jennifer Kelly, Simone Felton, Marwan El Hassan, Rob Woodgate and Yiheyis Maru

A transdisciplinary pilot study with Australia's livestock industries is bringing multiple stakeholders together as equal partners, to examine the complex problems around animal disease management. These problems include disease surveillance and on-farm biosecurity practices. The pilot groups are established in industries susceptible to foot and mouth disease, namely dairy and beef cattle, pork, sheep and goats. The Agricultural Innovation Systems framework is being evaluated to determine its effectiveness as a tool to improve partnerships between stakeholders. These stakeholders include livestock producers (farmers), private and government veterinarians, local council representatives, and industry personal including from saleyards and abattoirs. Stimulation of innovative solutions to issues arising from conflicting priorities and limited resources around animal disease management are also expected. Using a participatory communication approach, the impact of the pilot on trust and relationships is being evaluated. The sustainability of the Agricultural Innovation Systems approach to address complex issues around animal health management is also being assessed. The aim of the study is to strengthen Australia's preparedness for an emergency animal disease outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

Jun 16, 2020 Commentary
Health vs. hedonism: public communication of nutrition science

by Catherine Lockley

Do differences in narrative approach; hedonic language vs. scientific language, influence public perception and opinion of Nutrition and food consumption? Our study investigated this question using qualitative research via Focus Group (FG). The stimulus films and subsequent meals exemplified hedonic language and biomedical language respectively. The FG was chosen to elucidate alternative narrative tools for further research and public health communication. Five sessions were held over 4 weeks with 8–10 non-repeating participants at each session. Film clips were viewed in a dining room environment and food served in buffet style after viewing. 47 people participated in the focus groups (15 males, and 32 females [ages 18–78]). Recruitment was by social media, local news outlets, word of mouth, and printed material and followed up via email. Study eligibility included self-identifying as primary food provider/cook, being over eighteen years old, and providing informed consent. Qualitative content analysis and grounded theory was used for coding and analysis. Interpretive reading of the transcript identified manifest and latent content before a coding frame was arrived at based on the frequency of relevant categories. Cross-coding was undertaken and patterns identified according to our primary research question. Communication disparities suggested by previous research were confirmed in our findings with participants emphasizing that the personal impact of hedonic and psychosocial narrative on their personal food experience held greater weight than the ‘health’ narrative alone. We conclude that scientific nutrition communication paradigms are less effective than emotional narrative that engages passion, memory and deep feeling. The findings support a move towards nutrition communication strategies that incorporate wider human emotional experience through gastronomic narratives.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

May 18, 2020 Article
Organizationally based citizen science: considerations for implementation

by Ashley A. Anderson, Elizabeth Williams, Marilee Long, Ellison Carter and John Volckens

This theoretical paper proposes a framework for how citizen science can be adapted to organizational contexts. Using an “input, process, output” approach, this model proposes organizational factors (e.g., communication channels and styles, and organizational structure) that should be considered when choosing among citizen science approaches (e.g., contributory, collaborative, co-created). The essay identifies possible outcomes for the individual, organization, and larger sector from employing a citizen science approach within an organizational setting.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

Mar 16, 2020 Article
Decisions to choose genetically modified foods: how do people's perceptions of science and scientists affect their choices?

by Jiyoun Kim and Sumin Fang

This study explores the effects of food science perception on food decisions in the controversial case of genetically modified (GM) foods. We examine (1) how scientific consensus and scientific deference affect the public perception of GM foods; and (2) how perception and healthy eating interest influence people's actual food consumption decisions. We categorized our samples into four groups based on different risk/benefit perceptions of GM food: tradeoff, relaxed, skeptical, and uninterested in the process of further data analysis.

Volume 19 • Issue 02 • 2020

Dec 02, 2019 Article
Voices in health communication — experts and expert-roles in the German news coverage of multi resistant pathogens

by Matthias Wagner, Gwendolin Gurr and Miriam Siemon

When it comes to complex topics in the field of health and risk communication, experts are of high importance for the credibility of a news media report. This paper examines the use of experts and their roles in the news media coverage of multi-resistant pathogens by means of a quantitative content analysis of German print and online news. A cluster analysis of the expert statements identifies three different statement frames describing different expert roles. The results show manifest patterns of selected expert sources, which points to professionalized mechanisms of selecting expert sources for news media reports.

Volume 18 • Issue 06 • 2019

Jun 14, 2019 Article
The rise of skepticism in Spanish political and digital media contexts

by Lorena Cano-Orón, Isabel Mendoza and Carolina Moreno

Currently in Spain, there is a political and social debate over the use and sale of homeopathic products, which is promoted mainly by the skeptical movement. For the first time, this issue has become significant in political discourse. This study analyzes the role that homeopathy-related stories are playing in that political debate. We analyzed the viewpoints of headlines between 2015 and 2017 in eight digital dailies (n = 1,683), which published over 30 stories on homeopathy during the three-year study period. The results indicated that the stance on therapy's lack of scientific evidence gained ground during the period studied.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019

Sep 19, 2018 Conference Review
Learning about dentistry: enacting problems at the Wellcome Collection exhibition ‘Teeth’

by Claire Dungey and Neil Stephens

We review how the Wellcome Collection exhibition ‘Teeth’ enacts meanings from an educational anthropology and Science and Technology Studies perspective. The exhibition tells the history of dental science. It starts with accounts of the painful procedures and social inequalities of early oral healthcare. As it moves towards the present day it shows improved scientific knowledge, tools and public health promotion, and closes with current sophisticated technologies and practices. However it underrepresents contemporary social inequalities. We conclude that science communication exhibition curators should strive to represent the problems of today as well as those of the past.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 20, 2017 Article
Vaccination communication strategies: What have we learned, and lost, in 200 years?

by Merryn McKinnon and Lindy A. Orthia

This study compares Australian government vaccination campaigns from two very different time periods, the early nineteenth century (1803–24) and the early twenty-first (2016). It explores the modes of rhetoric and frames that government officials used in each period to encourage parents to vaccinate their children. The analysis shows that modern campaigns rely primarily on scientific fact, whereas 200 years ago personal stories and emotional appeals were more common. We argue that a return to the old ways may be needed to address vaccine hesitancy around the world.

Volume 16 • Issue 03 • 2017 • Special Issue: History of Science Communication, 2017