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Oct 29, 2019 Article
Meat as a matter of fact(s): the role of science in everyday representations of livestock production on social media

by Ulrika Olausson

In recent times we have allegedly witnessed a “post-truth” turn in society. Nonetheless, surveys show that science holds a relatively strong position among lay publics, and case studies suggest that science is part of their online discussions about environmental issues on social media — an important, yet strikingly under-researched, debate forum. Guided by social representation theory, this study aims to contribute knowledge about the role of science in everyday representations of livestock production on social media. The analysis identifies two central themata, namely lay publics' contestations of (1) facts and non-facts, and (2) factual and non-factual sources.

Volume 18 • Issue 06 • 2019

Oct 14, 2019 Article
The power of storytelling and video: a visual rhetoric for science communication

by Wiebke Finkler and Bienvenido Leon

This research develops a conceptual framework for telling visual stories about science using short-format videos, termed SciCommercial videos, that draw upon marketing communication. The framework is illustrated by an exemplar, the Good Whale Watching video, which is explained using a visual rhetoric keyframe analysis. Finally, the effectiveness of the video is evaluated as a science communication tool using an empirical online survey with 1698 respondents. The results highlight the benefits of using video for storytelling about science by using our framework formula, modified from marketing practices, to produce videos that are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Science Storytelling (SUCCESS).

Volume 18 • Issue 05 • 2019 • Special Issue: Stories in Science Communication, 2019

Sep 30, 2019 Commentary
Questioning the feminization in science communication

by Tania Pérez-Bustos

This comment discusses feminization of science communication as a process that is related to the professionalization of the field, but also with the subordination of its practices to certain ideas of science that have described as androcentric. It argues that science communication can play an important role in questioning this subordination and contributing to democratizing science bringing gender diversity into it. For this, the comment presents the case of a Colombian transgender scientist whose public presence in media has being important to destabilize scientific subjectivities in the country and also has opened the possibility to think of science from a care-ful perspective.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Sep 23, 2019 Article
EPCOT theme park as a science communication space: the Test Track case

by Daniela Martin

Science and technology have become tools to legitimize messages that affect the world in terms of society, politics and economy. This paper presents part of the results of a study that analyzed the symbolic construction of the future in the scientific-technological discourse at EPCOT theme park in Orlando, Florida. The sociohistorical conditions and narrative strategies are analyzed based on the theoretical and methodological approach by John B. Thompson. The results highlighted that the construction of the notion of progress is strongly influenced by the commercial and political interests of the sponsors. In particular, the ‘Test Track’ ride totally lacks any discussion about the impact of cars on society and the environment. The future is presented as a utopian one without any possible disruption, a perception that permeated the development of the United States over the 20th century and is promoted even in the 21st century despite the evidence provided by multiple wars and crises.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Sep 16, 2019 Letter
Communicating science: lessons from a Twitterstorm

by Hannah Little

In early August 2019, the U.S.A. saw 2 significant mass shootings in just 48 hours. On Twitter, Neil deGrasse Tyson responded with a tweet to his millions of followers. He outlined the number of deaths in 48 hours from other causes, and seemed to disparage the human tendency to respond emotionally “more to spectacle than to data”. The tweet resulted in an uproar. This “twitterstorm” might provide important lessons for practicing science communicators. The first lesson outlined in this letter is about the use of analogy in science communication, and the second is about how emotion is addressed in science communication.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Sep 02, 2019 Article
How does science fiction television shape fans' relationships to science? Results from a survey of 575 ‘Doctor Who’ viewers

by Lindy A. Orthia

Fiction is often credited with shaping public attitudes to science, but little science communication research has studied fans' deep engagement with a science-themed fiction text. This study used a survey to investigate the impacts of television series ‘Doctor Who’ (1963–89; 2005–present) on its viewers' attitudes to science, including their education and career choices and ideas about science ethics and the science-society relationship. The program's reported impacts ranged from causing participants to fact-check ‘Doctor Who’'s science to inspiring them to pursue a science career, or, more commonly, prompting viewers to think broadly and deeply about science's social position in diverse ways.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Aug 26, 2019 Article
Using humor to engage the public on climate change: the effect of exposure to one-sided vs. two-sided satire on message discounting, elaboration and counterarguing

by Amy Becker and Ashley A. Anderson

The research explores the differential impact of exposure to one-sided vs. two-sided satire about climate change on message processing. Analyzing experimental data (N =141) we find that one-sided satire offered by ‘The Onion’ ironically claiming that global warming is a hoax encourages viewers to engage in greater message elaboration and counterarguing. In contrast, two-sided satire offered by ‘The Weather Channel’ that makes jokes about those who believe in vs. reject human involvement in climate change is quickly discounted. We conclude by discussing the strategic value of incorporating one-sided satirical humor in communication efforts focused on climate change engagement.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Aug 19, 2019 Article
Young, sceptical, and environmentally (dis)engaged: do news habits make a difference?

by Yuliya Lakew and Ulrika Olausson

Research shows that news consumption plays a positive role in youths' environmental engagement. This article examines if this also holds true for sceptics by comparing Swedish climate change sceptics with non-sceptical youngsters in their early and late adolescence. We conceptualise news consumption as foci of public connection and orientation rather than a source of environmental information. The results show that in their early teens, heavy news consumers among both sceptics and non-sceptics are indeed more engaged with environmental issues than their less news-oriented peers. However, in late adolescence, sceptics among news consumers show very little environmental engagement.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Aug 05, 2019 Conference Review
WCSJ2019: scaling new heights in Switzerland

by Marina Joubert

At a time when science is perceived to be under attack and our planet is facing severe challenges, the role of science journalism in taking on these challenges was a key theme of the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists. But, while policymakers and science leaders are urging journalists to help restore public trust in science, science journalists are concerned about the future viability of their profession in the face of faltering business models in mainstream media.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 08, 2019 Article
Climate change skeptics teach climate literacy? A critical discourse analysis of children's books

by Nicole Colston and Julie Thomas

This critical discourse analysis examined climate change denial books intended for children and parents as examples of pseudo-educational materials reproduced within the conservative echo chamber in the United States. Guided by previous excavations in climate change denial discourses, we identified different types of skepticism, policy frames, contested scientific knowledge, and uncertainty appeals. Findings identify the ways these children's books introduced a logic of non-problematicity about environmental problems bolstered by contradictory forms of climate change skepticism and polarizing social-conflict frames. These results pose pedagogical dilemmas for educators, environmental advocates, and communication experts interested in advancing understanding and action in the face of rapid climate change.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019