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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

Jun 12, 2023 Conference Review
Hindsight, Insight, Foresight: Australian Science Communicators (ASC) Conference 2023

by Lisa Bailey and Heather J. Bray

The recent conference of the Australian Science Communicators (ASC) association (15–17 February 2023) held in Canberra was an opportunity for the 140 delegates to reflect on a decade of the national strategy for public engagement with the sciences, “Inspiring Australia”, and consider the future role for science communicators in the Australian science and research landscape. The conference was the first in-person conference since the COVID-19 pandemic, and other discussions focused on the role of AI in science communication and the importance of networks.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Feb 27, 2023 Book Review
A Challenge for Media and Communication Studies: the Covid-19 Pandemic

by Rod Lamberts

Katarzyna Kopecka-Piech and Bartłomiej Łódzki’s edited volume, The Covid-19 Pandemic as a Challenge for Media and Communication Studies, could be of great utility to science communication scholars and teachers. The studies with contained within it address two overarching research questions. First, how have media and communication reality changed during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe? Second, how were media and communication studied effectively through that period? The volume features 17 individual studies calling on myriad methods and case examples. This diversity of approaches allows the editors to also address an important, implicit third question. In essence: what has it been like to conduct worthwhile, meaningful, and robust research under such unusual and extreme global circumstances? Each chapter is thorough, detailed and of a high technical standard. This is a book that would likely best serve experienced readers more than novices. The entire compendium bears clear witness to the dynamic nature of social research playing out against a context of enormous global instability.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Feb 08, 2023 Article
Spokespersons for science: examining social media influencers' popularization of controversial technologies on YouTube

by Jiemin Looi and Shirley S. Ho

An online experiment involving 251 Singaporeans assessed how social media influencers' (SMIs) prototypicality (i.e., embodiment of group attitudes) and social attraction affected their popularization of nuclear energy development. Participants exposed to a SMI with high prototypicality perceived the YouTube video more favorably, displayed greater intention to share the YouTube video, and possessed greater attitude intensity toward nuclear energy development. Participants displayed greater intention to share the YouTube video when the SMI had high social attraction and possessed moderate to high prototypicality. Conversely, participants displayed less intention to share the YouTube video when the SMI had low social attraction and prototypicality.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Jan 18, 2023 Article
`Pandem-icons' — exploring the characteristics of highly visible scientists during the Covid-19 pandemic

by Marina Joubert, Lars Guenther, Jenni Metcalfe, Michelle Riedlinger, Anwesha Chakraborty, Toss Gascoigne, Bernard Schiele, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Dmitry Malkov, Eliana Fattorini, Gema Revuelta, Germana Barata, Jan Riise, Justin T. Schröder, Maja Horst, Margaret Kaseje, Marnell Kirsten, Martin W. Bauer, Massimiano Bucchi, Natália Flores, Orli Wolfson and Tingjie Chen

The Covid-19 pandemic escalated demand for scientific explanations and guidance, creating opportunities for scientists to become publicly visible. In this study, we compared characteristics of visible scientists during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic (January to December 2020) across 16 countries. We find that the scientists who became visible largely matched socio-cultural criteria that have characterised visible scientists in the past (e.g., age, gender, credibility, public image, involvement in controversies). However, there were limited tendencies that scientists commented outside their areas of expertise. We conclude that the unusual circumstances created by Covid-19 did not change the phenomenon of visible scientists in significant ways.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Jan 09, 2023 Article
An environmental problem in the making: how media logic molds scientific uncertainty in the production of news about artificial turf in Sweden

by Ernesto Abalo and Ulrika Olausson

This study aims to contribute knowledge about how an environmental issue is discursively forged notwithstanding the prevalence of significant scientific uncertainty. This is done by studying the production of news about artificial turf as a microplastic pollutant in Sweden. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 journalists and editors, public officials, politicians, industry representatives and experts, all involved in the issue of artificial turf. The study shows how media logic, among other factors, informs the interpretations of the uncertainties surrounding artificial turf as an environmental problem and concludes that the power of media logic needs to be considered also in the construction of other scientifically charged issues.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Dec 19, 2022 Article
Debunking strategies for misleading bar charts

by Winnifred Wijnker, Ionica Smeets, Peter Burger and Sanne Willems

Graphs are useful to communicate concisely about complex issues. Although they facilitate intuitive reading of data, trends, and predictions, hasty readers may still come to the wrong conclusions, especially if graphs are misleading due to violated design conventions. To provide evidence about how to prevent misinformation from spreading by misleading graphs, this two-survey experimental study investigates the effectiveness of four correction methods as debunking strategies to correct bar charts with manipulated vertical axes. All four methods showed positive effects. The most effective one is aimed at correcting the initial image by presenting an accurate alternative graph. A reduced effect remained visible after one week.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022