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Mar 28, 2022 Essay
Turning the tide: crafting a collective narrative of the ocean through participatory media

by Gianna Savoie

Participatory media has the ability to engage people in stories of science in ways that are personal, profound and culturally relevant. This essay launches from my experience as a scientist-turned-filmmaker and my establishment of the Ocean Media Institute, a global media collective that serves as a participatory platform for the communication of ocean science. Through collaboration and innovation, we as science storytellers have the ability to shape narratives that are factual, evidence-based and embrace greater inclusivity. Only when we invite diverse perspectives that draw from all ways of knowing, will we be able to provoke deeper dialogue and ignite change.

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

Mar 21, 2022 Book Review
Mass appeal

by Ann-Christine Kinzer

Justin Gest's book “Mass appeal. Communicating policy ideas in multiple media” illustrates how to communicate research effectively. He offers insights into different mediums and provides practical examples of each. While the author has a background in policy research, his ideas and insight are of interest to a much broader audience with an interest in science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Mar 07, 2022 Article
Scientific research in news media: a case study of misrepresentation, sensationalism and harmful recommendations

by Georgia Dempster, Georgina Sutherland and Louise Keogh

Accurate news media reporting of scientific research is important as most people receive their health information from the media and inaccuracies in media reporting can have adverse health outcomes. We completed a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a journal article, the corresponding press release and the online news reporting of a scientific study. Four themes were identified in the press release that were directly translated to the news reports that contributed to inaccuracies: sensationalism, misrepresentation, clinical recommendations and subjectivity. The pressures on journalists, scientists and their institutions has led to a mutually beneficial relationship between these actors that can prioritise newsworthiness ahead of scientific integrity to the detriment of public health.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Dec 06, 2021 Article
Perceptions of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of science journalists: global perspectives

by Luisa Massarani, Luiz Felipe Fernandes Neves, Marta Entradas, Tim Lougheed and Martin W. Bauer

The article presents the results of a survey of science journalists from six world regions about their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The responses show perception of increasing workload for most participants. Local scientists and peer-reviewed articles are the main sources. According to the respondents, scientists have become more available during the pandemic. The use of preprint articles was a frequent practice, but a considerable proportion declared they did not adopt different procedures when reporting them. Most also said they take fake news into account when writing their stories.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 02, 2021 Article
The matter of complex anti-matter: the portrayal and framing of physics in Dutch newspapers

by Sanne Willemijn Kristensen, Julia Cramer, Alix McCollam, W. Gudrun Reijnierse and Ionica Smeets

Physics is often perceived as difficult, but there has been little research on how physics is reported in the media. In this two-stage content analysis, we examine the portrayal of physics in five major Dutch newspapers. Results show that astronomy and astrophysics is the most prominent field. Furthermore, newspaper articles are triggered almost equally by scientific and non-scientific events. Finally, the majority of described physics concepts are framed as difficult, but journalists do provide explanations for them.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Sep 06, 2021 Article
Impacts of genre and access on science discussions: ‘The New Reddit Journal of Science’

by Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder and Alexander Mahmou-Werndli

Which genre of science writing contributes most to public understanding, and how does that understanding happen? Working within a science in society approach, this paper examines public engagement with science as it occurs in the comments and discussion boards of r/science. Researchers use content analysis to identify relevant concept categories and code comments for interaction with science content. The resulting data are analyzed by genre (scientific news journalism, press release, and research article) and open access status, revealing differences in public engagement with implications for science communicators and scholars seeking to understand how the public interacts with science news.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Aug 09, 2021 Article
A survey and evaluation of mobile apps in science centers and museums

by Maycon Gomes Barbosa, Luiz Antonio de Saboya and Diego Vaz Bevilaqua

This paper studies how science centers and museums around the world have used mobile apps with museum guide characteristics and tries to identify the best interface design principles to improve their use as a tool for interaction with the public. For this purpose, we mapped mobile apps from science centers and museums and applied an evaluation tool for each one to identify good practices. This allowed us to produce guidelines for identifying good practices in the development of apps as a way of expanding visitors' experience in these institutions through these devices.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Jul 29, 2021 Article
Animals of Instagram: taxonomic bias in science communication online

by Grace Heathcote

There are currently no published studies examining taxonomic bias on Instagram. To address this knowledge gap, this study examined seven popular science communication accounts for a year and found that the majority of posts featured vertebrates. However, non-insect invertebrates attracted the highest measures of positive audience engagement (likes, views and comments), suggesting a mismatch between the preferences of science-seeking audiences online and the information being offered to them. These results challenge traditional notions of charismatic megafauna and could improve conservation outcomes of traditionally under-represented species like invertebrates.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

Jul 21, 2021 Article
Science communicators intimidated: researchers' freedom of expression and the rise of authoritarian populism

by Esa Valiverronen and Sampsa Saikkonen

In this article, we explore scientists' freedom of expression in the context of authoritarian populism. Our particular case for this analysis is Finland, where the right-wing populist Finns Party entered the government for the first time in 2015. More recently, after leaving the government in 2017, the party has been the most popular party in opinion polls in 2021. We illustrate the current threats to Finnish researchers' freedom of expression using their responses on three surveys, made in 2015, 2017 and 2019. We focus on politically motivated disparagement of scientists and experts, and the scientists' experiences with online hate and aggressive feedback. Further, we relate these findings to the recent studies on authoritarian populism and science-related populism. We argue that this development may affect researchers' readiness to communicate their research and expertise in public.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

Jul 05, 2021 Article
Exploring the use of positive humour as a tool in science communication: do science and non-science undergraduates differ in their receptiveness to humour in popular science articles?

by Alfred Chan and Chammika Udalagama

This study aims to test for differences in the receptiveness of science and non-science undergraduates to positive, non-aggressive humour being used in a science article, as an exploration into the utilization of such humour as a tool for more engaging science communication. The majority of the 76 respondents to an online survey were generally receptive to such use, with some differences between the two groups. It was also noted that a receptiveness to such humour may not necessarily be associated with a receptiveness to its actual use in science articles.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021