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May 30, 2023 Article
Public discussion on Covid-19 in Mexico: What does Twitter tell us?

by Miguel Garcia-Guerrero, Diogo Lopes-de Oliveira, Erick Moreno, Nereida Martínez-Báez, Amelia Rodríguez-Pinedo and Elizabeth Ruiz-García

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a deep global impact in several social spheres, ranging from public health, economic activities, education and even the polarization that has occurred in the public discussion of the subject. Politicians, artists and scientists alike have expressed their positions on social media, producing debates with a wide range of perspectives that are not necessarily based on sound scientific facts. Thus, the conflict between reliable information and misinformation contributes to the growing uncertainty and complexity of the pandemic. This article explores how people look for references to build an opinion regarding the pandemic and the way in which personalities of different ranks, professions and nuances spread their opinions on health issues in Mexico. As methodological tools, the team analyzed hundreds of tweets from eleven profiles, divided into three groups: celebrities, politicians, and science communicators, in 14 relevant events during the pandemic. The results led to the construction of four major sections: deniers, moderates, cautious and critical. With this work, a basis is cemented to develop containment actions against disinformation and strategies to make the impact of Covid-19 visible, given the need for Mexican society to have reliable information to assume a position towards the so-called “new normality”.

Volume 6 • Issue 01 • 2023

Apr 17, 2023 Article
Who are “we”? Examining relational ethos in British Columbia, Canada's COVID-19 public health communication

by Philippa Spoel, Alexandra Millar, Naomi Lacelle and Aarani Mathialagan

This paper investigates the multiple meanings and functions of the pronoun “we” in COVID-19 public updates by British Columbia's acclaimed Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in 2020. Our rhetorical case study shows how “we” contributes to Henry's relational ethos by attempting to foster a communal identity with her implied audience while also distinguishing public health expertise, actions, and authority from citizens' knowledge and actions. Ambiguous uses of “we” blur the line between the knowledge and responsibilities of “we” in public health and “we” as citizens. Overall, our rhetorical analysis demonstrates the significant but ambivalent role this pronoun can play in building relations of social trust among citizens, experts, and institutions within public health and science communication contexts and it suggests the importance of judicious pronoun usage when communicators strive to foster these relations.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Apr 11, 2023 Article
Support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination in the United States: examining the role of cultural worldviews, risk-benefit perceptions, and trust in scientists

by Yuan Wang, John Leach, Jiyoun Kim and Saymin Lee

This study sets out to understand the role of cultural worldviews, risk perceptions, and trust in scientists in impacting U.S. participants' support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Results from an online survey (“N” = 594) suggest that stronger individualistic and hierarchical worldviews are associated with more perceived COVID-19 vaccination risks, less perceived COVID-19 vaccination benefits, and lower support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Perceived benefits mediate the impact of cultural worldviews on support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Trust in scientists moderates the relationship between cultural worldviews and perceived benefits of COVID-19 vaccination. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Dec 14, 2022 Book Review
Put to the test: science communication in crisis situations

by Lars Guenther

Risk and crisis situations can put science communication to the test, but systematic approaches to science communication in relation to crisis communication are still missing. “Science communication in times of crisis”, edited by Pascal Hohaus and published in 2022, is about this relationship. The book review provides an overview, a summary, and a short criticism of this edited volume. As will be outlined, while the book is a valuable contribution to the field, its overall aims could have been more strongly tied together.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Dec 05, 2022 Article
Politics, economy and society in the coverage of COVID-19 by elite newspapers in US, UK, China and Brazil: a text mining approach

by Luiz Felipe Fernandes Neves and Luisa Massarani

We analyzed 95,970 stories on COVID-19 published in 2020 by newspapers in US, UK, China and Brazil — countries marked by controversial management of the crisis. Through a text mining approach, we identified main topics, subjects, actors and the level of attention. The coverage was politicized in “The New York Times” and “Folha de S. Paulo”; focused on health aspects in “The Guardian”; and emphasized the economic situation in “China Daily”. In this sense, the pandemic has motivated a deeper approach to the multiple dimensions of science and health, pointing to a broader perspective of science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Oct 19, 2022 Article
Telling our story: communicators’ perceptions of challenges and solutions for sustainability communication within the Australian beef industry

by Taylah Faulkner, Bradd Witt and Heather J. Bray

Sustainability communication has been an increasing focus globally for many diverse and complex resource-based industries, including beef production, due to an increase in public scrutiny. However, this has received limited research interest. This study, drawing on in-depth interviews, explores key internal and external stakeholders’ perceptions of sustainability communication challenges using the Australian beef industry as a case study. Diverse views about public perceptions, the role of communications in trust, and internal issues reflect challenges such as industry culture, isolation, and industry complexity and breadth. This research highlights and discusses a range of sustainability communication issues in complex contexts.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Jul 04, 2022 Commentary
Evidence in the eye of the beholder: portrayals of risk and scientific (un)certainty in ‘Don't look up’

by Lars Guenther and Lutz Granert

In this invited comment, we discuss portrayals of risk and scientific (un)certainty in ‘Don't look up’. Specific scenes of the movie were selected, to reflect how within and between the spheres of science, politics, journalism, and economics an upcoming risk and its scientific (un)certainty is (re-)interpreted and (re-)framed, in line with the respective sphere's logic. We extend our assessment by common criteria of film analysis and comparisons to climate change, where applicable. This comment emphasizes how in the movie the logic of economy is taken over by politics and journalism, and how it prevails over the logic of science.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Apr 20, 2022 Practice Insight
Science communication during COVID-19: when theory meets practice and best practices meet reality

by Christopher D. Wirz, Ashley Cate, Markus Brauer, Dominique Brossard, Lori DiPrete Brown, Kaiping Chen, Pauline Ho, D. Gavin Luter, Haley Madden, Sara Schoenborn, Bret Shaw, Cory Sprinkel, Don Stanley and Gail Sumi

This paper synthesizes the efforts of an interdisciplinary, University-convened communication task force in the U.S. that used science communication theory to develop an effective strategy during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We outline recommendations for researchers and practitioners who are, or are interested in, implementing theory-based communication practices while describing how we dealt with the unforeseen realities we faced. Overall, we recommend that effective public health and science communication should be based on theory and formative evaluation while relying on established infrastructure, real-time data, a deep understanding of intended target audiences, and intentional coordination with community partners.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

Mar 28, 2022 Article
Foot and mouth disease ready? How co-creation of and participation in knowledge development and sharing can transform relationships between livestock producers and other animal health stakeholders — an Australian case study

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

Building a strong and trustworthy communication network to report unusual signs of disease will facilitate Australia's response to a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. In a four-year study, the FMD Ready Farmer-led surveillance project adopted the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) framework, modelling transformation of how knowledge is co-created, valued, and communicated. The FMD Ready project has highlighted the need for multiple stakeholders' voices to be heard, and the importance of regulatory bodies to listen. Relationships take time and need to be valued as a necessary tool in a participatory, innovative approach to animal health and disease management.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)

Feb 14, 2022 Practice Insight
Nuestros Suelos: exploring new forms of public engagement with polluted soils

by Sebastian Ureta, Miriam Llona, Delia Rodríguez-Oroz, Daniel Valenzuela, Carolina Trujillo-Espinoza, Consuelo Guiñez, Alejandro Rebolledo, María José Maiza and Camilo Rodríguez Beltrán

Despite being a critical environmental problem, soil pollution is not usually considered as a relevant issue by the general public. This disinterest derives from traditional procedures to assess soil pollution that are quite complex and costly, not considering any form of citizen involvement. Seeking to challenge this situation, the project “Nuestros Suelos” (Our Soil) aimed at designing and testing a low-cost participative soil pollution assessment toolkit. The final prototype included several participative modules, going from an assessment of the history of local soils to measuring heavy metals such as Arsenic and Copper. Tested with low-income communities in northern Chile, the toolkit was able not only to produce multiple kinds of data but also a public that started to understand and care about the issue.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022