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Nov 27, 2023 Article
Science Communication practices and Trust in information sources amongst Nigerian scientists and journalists

by Emma Weitkamp, Ruth Larbey, Mahmoud Bukar Maina, Katy Petherick, Mustapha Shehu Muhammad, Abdullahi Tsanni, Xinyang Hong and Abdulhamid Al-Gazali

Relatively few studies have explored the communication practices of researchers and journalists working in African contexts. We set out to explore the communication activities undertaken by Nigerian health researchers and journalists, their motivations and the barriers they face in communicating about health topics with lay audiences, as well as their trust in a range of sources of scientific information. The study adopted a survey methodology, recruiting 69 participants at a communications training workshop for both health researchers and journalists. We found high levels of participation in research communication amongst health researchers compared with previous work. While many barriers are similar to those faced by researchers in other contexts, our respondents highlighted that lack of support from managers is a significant hurdle, which has not been highlighted in other studies. Both journalists and researchers primarily communicate science with the aim of educating, informing, entertaining or inspiring their audiences. Regarding trust, both researchers and journalists broadly trust sources linked to science, such as academic journals. However, trust in industry, NGOs and other media was higher amongst journalists than health researchers. Least trust was invested in social media sources, with the exception of material posted on accounts linked to universities.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Oct 09, 2023 Essay
A critical perspective on the mediatization of brain imaging and healthy ageing

by Najmeh Khalili-Mahani and Eugene Loos

Since the invention of functional brain imaging in the early 1990s, this instrumentally and computationally expensive methodology has captured our interests in visualizing the working mind, especially that of super-ageing brains. Because neuroimaging research is costly, various communication strategies are deployed to increase its visibility and fundraising success. Through a historical perspective on the representation of healthy ageing in the media, we examine the methods of communication (media logic) and the cultural interdependencies between media, research institutions, and health funding politics (mediatization), which magnify the profile of brain imaging in advancing the science of healthy ageing. Examples of hyped messaging about healthy-ageing brains underline the risk of visual ageism — a prejudiced and stereotypical view of what a good or bad older brain looks like. We argue that hyped mediatization can alienate older adults from participating in a line of research that might stigmatize them.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Oct 02, 2023 Article
Not here, not now, not me: how distant are climate futures represented in journalistic reporting across four countries?

by Lars Guenther and Michael Brüggemann

Among the reasons why climate change is not a major cause for concern for some members of the public is its psychological distance. Since journalistic media are important sources of information about climate change, this article analyzed how distant climate futures are portrayed in journalistic media across four countries (Germany, India, South Africa, and the United States; n=1,010). Findings show that there are only few differences across countries; representations of distance rather varied with the type of climate future scenario portrayed. The most frequent scenarios in journalistic reporting were distant — especially regarding the temporal, spatial, and social dimensions.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Sep 25, 2023 Practice Insight
How European journalists cover marine issues

by Bruno Pinto and Ana Matias

Keeping citizens informed about the sea is important because it can motivate collective actions to address threats to coastal and marine sustainability. In this article, we wondered how European science and environmental journalists cover marine issues in the print media. We conducted 26 interviews with press journalists in 13 European countries and asked about topics, triggers, and sources to write marine-related news. We found that climate change, marine pollution, and biodiversity are the most important issues and that good working relationships with both scientists and NGOs are key for this media coverage.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Sep 11, 2023 Article
Tools to communicate science: looking for an effective video abstract in Ecology and Environmental Sciences

by Miguel Ferreira, António Granado, Betina Lopes and João Loureiro

Video abstracts, filmed versions of scientific written abstracts, are an exciting trend in the world of online science videos, but, to date, the classification, conception and reception of these videos still need to be explored. This study aims to identify the most and least valued features, exploring future guidelines for producing an effective video abstract. For this purpose, 30 science video experts watched 21 video abstracts and filled out a questionnaire. Content analysis showed that video abstracts in Ecology and Environmental Sciences should be short, clear, objective, creative, dynamic and informative, mixing impactful live images with animation.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Aug 07, 2023 Article
"It's my job": a qualitative study of the mediatization of science within the scientist-journalist relationship

by Laura L. Moorhead, Alice Fleerackers and Lauren Maggio

Through 19 interviews with scientists, this study examines scientists' use of media logic and their relationships with journalists using research as the focal point. The authors identified that the scientists shared a basic understanding of media logic classified in three patterns. Two patterns were previously identified by Olesk: 1) adaption (ability to explain research in a simple, engaging fashion but with a reactive approach to journalist interaction) and 2) adoption (proactively create and manage media interactions for strategic aims through a more active use of media logic). The other emerged as a new, third pattern, affiliation (enthusiastic contributors to journalists' production practices and desire to engage in public outreach).

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jul 31, 2023 Article
Besieged from all sides: impediments to science journalism in a developing country and their global implications

by Minh Tran and An Nguyen

Despite high expectations of their normative roles in development processes, Vietnamese science journalists interviewed for this research essay find it extrememly hard to enact such roles, facing an uphill battle to establish science as a legitimate news beat. This results from a diverse set of internal impediments (particularly a science-unfriendly news culture and low ethical standards) and external obstacles, including political control and low cooperation of local scientists. Placing these findings in the wider context, we demonstrate that Vietnam illuminates many troublesome characteristics of science journalism in the Global South and make some recommendations for improving the status quo.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jul 17, 2023 Article
Science by means of memes? Meanings of Covid-19 in Brazil based on Instagram posts

by Wilmo Ernesto Francisco Junior, Tereza Cristina Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, Biânca Luiz dos Santos Costa and Rafaella Lima Gomes

This study aimed at analyzing Brazilian memes posted on Instagram about Covid-19, in which scientific concepts were intertwined with the message. The research was based on virtual ethnography and the analysis considered the multimodal structure of memes following principles of the Grammar of Visual Design. Only twelve memes out of a universe of 83 identified (14.5%) presented knowledge about science interdependently with meanings that could be produced. One of the core aspects is the complexity of both representations and scientific concepts in memes about Covid-19. Scientific aspects, humor and irony were associated with social and political criticism through different multimodal interactions.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jun 28, 2023 Editorial
Reflecting and Renewing to Strengthen JCOM

by Michelle Riedlinger and Marina Joubert

During June 2023, we met with the JCOM editorial board members to reflect on the current status of the journal and strategies for future growth. This editorial provides a snapshot of our position and plans.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jun 20, 2023 Article
The lab, the space and the meetup: locating technological experimentation in everyday life

by Andreas Hepp

This article analyzes the role digital pioneer communities play in the localization of everyday technological experimentation based on three sites of practice: the lab, the space, and the meetup. Taking a historical view, it begins with a reconstruction of Stewart Brand’s popularization of the lab discourse. On this basis, the space in the Maker movement as well as the meetup in the Quantified Self and Hacks/Hackers movements is investigated, finally arriving at a reflection on the dynamics that come and go between them. While the article is primarily a conceptual contribution, its arguments are grounded in an extensive media ethnography.

Volume 22 • Issue 03 • 2023 • Special Issue: Living labs under construction: paradigms, practices, and perspectives of public science communication and participatory science