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Oct 26, 2020 Article
Interactive articles: a case study in the ‘Ciência Hoje’ magazine

by Natalia Souza and Diego Vaz Bevilaqua

This paper analyzes a new initiative in Brazil’s ‘Ciência Hoje’ magazine, called “Interactive Articles”, aimed at understanding how stakeholders relate to interactivity when writing a science communication article. We investigated participation in two platforms (magazine website and Facebook page) and interviewed the authors concerning the tool’s impact on their articles. Comments were examined using intensity analysis and content analysis, while interviews were analyzed with the collective subject discourse method. The study concluded that the novel initiative presented positive results in terms of interactivity and was regarded as public engagement and contextual model of science communication from the interviewed authors.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
COVID-19: a metaphor-based neologism and its translation into Arabic

by Amal Haddad Haddad and Silvia Montero-Martinez

‘Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)’ is the neologism coined in reference to the pandemic disease currently affecting countries worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) was the international entity that coined this neologism in all its official languages, Arabic amongst them. However, in mass media, the most commonly used term is ‘coronavirus’, which is a meronymic denomination. This corpus-based case study aims at giving new insights into the creation of these neologisms in English and their equivalents in Arabic, and to the adequacy of the meronymic use of the term ‘coronavirus’ in the English and Arabic mass media.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
COVID-19 in the South Pacific: science communication, Facebook and ‘coconut wireless’

by Vipul Khosla and Prashanth Pillay

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the criticality of science communication. Utilising a mixed-methods approach, this article takes an audience-focused perspective to analysing COVID-19 related social media posts on 23 popular South Pacific community Facebook pages over a four-month period across eight South Pacific countries. We analyse how audiences co-opt scientific terms, address information gaps and embed it in their lived experience. It is ascertained that online conversations around COVID-19 in the Pacific are intermeshed with both scientific fact and, personal accounts and rumours, referred to locally as ‘coconut wireless’, problematising established modes of empirical enquiry.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Editorial
COVID-19 and science communication: a JCOM special issue

by Luisa Massarani, Padraig Murphy and Rod Lamberts

The devastating effects of COVID-19 and the speed of both the scientific and medical response and the public information requirements about frontline healthcare work, medical advances and policy and compliance measures has necessitated an intensity of science communication never seen before. This JCOM special issue — the first of two parts — looks at the challenges of communicating COVID-19 and coronavirus in the early spread of the disease in 2020. Here we present papers from across the world that demonstrate the scale of this challenge.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
China and the battle to win the scientific narrative about the origin of COVID-19

by Daniel Lemus-Delgado

The emergence of COVID-19 represented a critical problem for the legitimacy and prestige of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese authorities had to fight not only to contain the spread of the virus but also to create a favorable public opinion about how they managed the crisis. Based on Foucault's approach to the “Regime of Truth”, this article analyzes the narrative surrounding the origin of the virus and how science was employed to lend it legitimacy. The article concludes by reviewing how the idea of science as a truth knowledge is used to construct a particular viewpoint, one focused on legitimizing the outbreak containment measures taken by the Chinese government.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
Rapid reaction: ethnographic insights into the Science Media Center and its response to the COVID-19 outbreak

by Irene Broer

This paper offers an ethnographic account of the editorial response to the COVID-19 outbreak by the Science Media Center Germany. Ethnographic research data was gathered during a 4-week fieldstay in January 2020 which coincided with the first weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak. The findings offer insights into how the editorial staff grappled with the scientific non-knowledge and uncertainty that marked the initial phase of the global COVID-19 outbreak, while simultaneously dealing with acute journalistic demands for expertise.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
Pharmaceutical influencers on Instagram and their communication during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis

by Zahaira Fabiola González Romo, Sofia Iriarte Aguirre and Irene Garcia Medina

Today, thanks to the consolidation of Internet, users have access to many sources of information on health issues. On social networks, there are profiles of health professionals who share content that generates credibility when published by specialists who are knowledgeable in the sector. These profiles include pharmaceutical professionals who disseminate and create content based on scientific knowledge. Pharmaceutical influencers on Instagram have an informative role on health, nutrition and cosmetic dermatology issues. This research aims to learn about the communication management of these influencers during the Coronavirus crisis in Spain and how they have modified their habitual discourse, as well as seeking to identify the formats of their publications that generate greater engagement and conversions among their followers.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
COVID-19 infections on international celebrities: self presentation and tweeting down pandemic awareness

by Wishes Mututwa and Trust Matsilele

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which was first reported in China's Wuhan province in December 2019 became a global pandemic within a few months. The exponential rise in COVID-19 cases globally was accompanied by a spike in misinformation about the pandemic, particularly on social media. Employing Social Network Theory as a lens, this qualitative study explores how selected international celebrities appropriated their Twitter micro-blogging pages to announce their COVID-19 infection to the world. The study finds that these celebrities can take advantage of their huge social media following to counter disinfodemic and promote awareness about health pandemics.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
Liberalists and data-solutionists: redefining expertise in Twitter debates on coronavirus in Finland

by Esa Valiverronen, Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Mikko Jauho and Piia Jallinoja

Based on recent accounts of the sociology of expertise, we analyse the public contestation and expansion of expertise in the context of COVID-19. During the epidemic, the expertise of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), became increasingly contested. By exploring Twitter discussions concerning the actions of THL during the first months of the epidemic from January to mid-June 2020, we analyse the main motivations and arguments in this public contestation as well as the alternative forms of expertise proposed by the critics. We focus particularly on two forms of criticism arguing for what we call networked expertise: liberal crowdsourcing supporters and data-solutionists presenting alternative epidemiological models.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
The landscape of disinformation on health crisis communication during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine: hybrid warfare tactics, fake media news and review of evidence

by Sonny Patel, Omar Moncayo, Kristina Conroy, Doug Jordan and Timothy Erickson

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in ways not seen since the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu. Disinformation campaigns targeting health crisis communication during this pandemic seek to cripple the medical response to the novel coronavirus and instrumentalize the pandemic for political purposes. Propaganda from Russia and other factions is increasingly infiltrating public and social media in Ukraine. Still, scientific literature has only a limited amount of evidence of hybrid attacks and disinformation campaigns focusing on COVID-19 in Ukraine. We conducted a review to retrospectively examine reports of disinformation surrounding health crisis communication in Ukraine during the COVID-19 response. Based on the themes that emerged in the literature, our recommendations are twofold: 1) increase transparency with verified health crisis messaging and, 2) address the leadership gap in reliable regional information about COVID-19 resources and support in Ukraine.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020