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Filter by keyword: Representations of science and technology

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Jul 04, 2022 Commentary
Caricatures and omissions: representations of the news media in ‘Don't look up’

by Declan Fahy

‘Don't look up’ represents the news media as harmful to the public understanding of science. The news media turns honest scientists into corrupted and compromised media personalities. Its dynamics and demands make it unable to inform the public that a planet-killing comet, the film's allegory for climate change, is an existential threat. This commentary argues that these representations devalue the power of celebrity scientists to communicate science, ignore how journalists have placed climate change and ideas of climate catastrophe on the public agenda, and imply there is an idealised type of science communication — the deficit model — that journalists have corroded.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

May 16, 2022 Article
“Cover your mouth and nose”: communication about health protection behaviors by role models in YouTube COVID-19 videos for children

by Jocelyn Steinke, Carolyn A. Lin, Tamia Duncan and Viviana Zambrano

YouTube videos offer a potentially useful vehicle for the communication of science, health, and medical information about COVID-19 to children. Findings from this research showed that primary characters appearing in children's educational YouTube videos about COVID-19 were most often adults, with about an equal number of men and women and few characters from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Primary characters frequently demonstrated and modeled protective health measures. Adult expert characters (medical professionals and scientists) appeared to some extent in these videos. Directive discourse frames appeared most frequently, followed by the informative and persuasive discourse frames when communicating scientific and health information. Changes in the use of informative, directive, and persuasive frames before and after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced guidelines on how to communicate about COVID-19 with children are explored.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

May 09, 2022 Article
Does democratizing access to science imply democratizing science? A case study of non-corporate Spanish-speaking science YouTubers

by David Vasquez-Muriel and Jorge M. Escobar-Ortiz

In recent years, access to science content production has been democratized. New actors can make their discourses reach large audiences through popular platforms with no institutional gatekeeping. However, it remains unclear which conceptions of the science-society relationship underlie science content created by non-corporate individuals. To explore how science communication cultures of boosters and critics inform this kind of science content in Spanish, we conducted a qualitative content analysis of a sample of 50 videos from ten YouTube science channels. Our results suggest that more accessible science communication does not necessarily entail a democratized view of science but may reinforce a traditional perspective.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

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 29, 2021 Article
Understanding knowledge and perceptions of genome editing technologies: a textual analysis of major agricultural stakeholder groups

by Matthew Robbins, Christopher Calabrese, Jieyu Ding Featherstone and George A. Barnett

The promise of CRISPR-Cas9 (CRISPR) genomic editing applied to agriculture is promoted widely by scientists. We utilized textual analysis methods to compare perceptions of this innovation held by various stakeholder groups — scientists, policymakers, farmers, and the general public. Results reveal distinctions in the semantic structure and concepts emphasized across groups. Scientists and policymakers exhibited a high level of technical sophistication while emphasizing the potential societal benefits, while farmers and the general public focused on perceived personal benefits and familiarity with the issue. These results will aid development of message strategies bridging the gap between the scientific community and key publics.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Jun 07, 2021 Article
Undifferentiated optimism and scandalized accidents: the media coverage of autonomous driving in Germany

by Lena Jelinski, Katrin Etzrodt and Sven Engesser

When, to what extent and under what conditions autonomous driving will become common practice depends not only on the level of technical development but also on social acceptance. Therefore, the rapid development of autonomous driving systems raises the question of how the public perceives this technology. As the mass media are regarded as the main source of information for the lay audience, the news coverage is assumed to affect public opinion. The mass media are also frequently criticized for their inaccurate and biased news coverage. Against this backdrop, we conducted a content analysis of the news coverage of autonomous driving in five leading German newspapers. Findings show that media reporting on autonomous driving is not very detailed. They also indicate a slight positive bias in the balance of arguments and tonality. However, as soon as an accident involving an autonomous vehicle occurs, the frequency of reporting, as well as the extent of negativity and detail increase. We conclude that well-informed public opinion requires more differentiated reporting — irrespective of accidents.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

May 10, 2021 Article
“Who is going to believe me, if I say ‘I'm a researcher?’” — Scientists' role repertoires in online public engagement

by Tessa Roedema, J. E. W. Broerse and J. F. H. Kupper

This article contributes to reflective practice amongst scientists who engage with citizens in the digital public sphere, by exploring the scientists' experiences and underlying perspectives on their role repertoires in online science-society interactions. Semi-structured interviews were held with 26 European scientists to investigate their focus and contribution in boundary interactions, perspective on appropriate model of science communication, and activities, outputs and addressees in the digital public sphere — together comprising a role repertoire. The intended role of scientists often did not match with their deployed repertoire in online interactions with citizens. Participants were left with the feeling that the digital public sphere provides hollow interactions, devaluates scientific expertise or even represents a hostile environment. In order to capitalise on the promise of the digital public sphere for constructive interactions with a diverse public, a reflective practice is needed that aligns scientists' intended contribution to science-society interactions with the scientists' perspective and deployed online repertoires.

Volume 20 • Issue 03 • 2021 • Special Issue: Re-examining Science Communication: models, perspectives, institutions, 2021

May 10, 2021 Article
Climate change and public perception. Citizens' proposals for better communication and involvement

by Malgorzata Dziminska, Isabel Mendoza, Giuseppe Pellegrini and Jussara Rowland

This paper explains how a participative approach was used to collect first-hand citizens’ suggestions on how to improve science communication regarding Climate Change. A public consultation involving citizens from 5 different European countries revealed various perspectives concerning their communication preferences on scientific topics. Five main themes emerged following citizens' proposals for better communication and involvement: producer of information, medium, message strategies, audiences and areas of action and engagement.

Volume 20 • Issue 03 • 2021 • Special Issue: Re-examining Science Communication: models, perspectives, institutions, 2021

Apr 12, 2021 Article
Policing orthodoxy on Wikipedia: Skeptics in action?

by Brian Martin

Wikipedia has been accused of being biased against challengers to scientific orthodoxy due to efforts by editors having affinities with the Skeptics movement. Examination of Wikipedia, including entries on fluoridation, the origin of AIDS and vaccination, reveals several characteristics typical of a Skeptics sensibility, including the definition of scepticism, lists of deviant ideas, derogatory labelling of heterodox viewpoints, and categories established without reference to reliable sources.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Mar 01, 2021 Article
The newsworthiness of the “March for Science” in Germany: comparing news factors in journalistic media and on Twitter

by Lars Guenther, Georg Ruhrmann, Mercedes C. Zaremba and Natalie Weigelt

Germany was second in the number of March for Science participants. Applying news value theory, this article analyzes the newsworthiness of the 2018 March for Science in Germany, comparing journalistic (online) reporting on the march (N=86) and Twitter communication about #marchforscience (N=591). The results of the content analyses reveal that news factors were more frequent and reached higher intensities in journalistic reporting than on Twitter. Relevance, prominence, personalization, and influence were the news factors most emphasized by journalists. On Twitter, reach was the only news factor correlating with social media engagement (likes, comments, and retweets).

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021