Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011


Jul 11, 2011 Article
Print media reportage of agricultural biotechnology in the Philippines: a decade’s (2000-2009) analysis of news coverage and framing

by Mariechel J. Navarro, Jenny A. Panopio, Donna Bae Malayang and Noel Amano Jr.

This article presents key results of a ten-year study of media coverage of agricultural biotechnology in the Philippines, the only country in Asia to date to approve a biotech food/feed crop (Bt corn) for commercialization. The top three national English newspapers – Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Philippine Star were analyzed to determine patterns of media attention measured by coverage peaks, tone, source of news, keywords, and media frames used. Biotechnology news was generally positive but not high in the media agenda. News coverage was marked by occasional peaks brought about by drama and controversial events which triggered attention but not long enough to sustain interest. The study provides a glimpse into the role of mass media in a developing country context. It shows how a complex and contentious topic is integrated into the mainstream of news reporting, and eventually evolves from an emotional discourse to one that allows informed decision making.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011

Jul 25, 2011 Article
Media framing of stem cell research: a cross-national analysis of political representation of science between the UK and South Korea

by Leo Kim

This paper compares opinion-leading newspapers’ frames of stem cell research in the UK and South Korea from 2000 to 2008. The change of news frames, studied by semantic network analysis, in three critical periods (2000-2003/2004-2005/2006-2008) shows the media’s representative strategies in privileging news topics and public sentiments. Both political and national identity represented by each media outlet play a crucial role in framing scientific issues. A news frame that objectifies medical achievements and propagates a popular hope evolves as a common discourse in The Telegraph and The Guardian, with expanded issues that both incorporate and keep in check social concerns. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo follows the frame of objectified science with a strong economic motivation, while Hankyoreh remains critical of the ‘Hwang scandal’ and tempers its scientific interest with broader political concerns.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011

Sep 15, 2011 Article
Public understanding of environment and bioenergy resources

by Gauhar Raza, P.V.S. Kumar and Surjit Singh

There exists a distinct disconnect between scientists’ perception of nature and people’s worldview. This ‘disconnect’ though has dialectical relationship with science communication processes which, causes impediments in the propagation of scientific ideas. Those ideas, which are placed at large cultural distance, do not easily become a part of cognitive structure of a common citizen or peoples thought complex. Low level of public understanding of bio-energy technologies is one such sphere of understanding. The present study is based on assumption that public debate on bio-energy is part of the larger human concern about climate change. In this paper we present meta-analyses from published literature and take a look at the surveys that have been carried out at national and international level. In the second section of the article we also present analysis of the survey study carried out in India and locate the shifts in public understanding of science.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011

Sep 21, 2011 Article
A pilot project to encourage scientific debate in schools. Comics written and peer reviewed by young learners

by Giovanni Lo Iacono and Adélia S.A.T. de Paula

Comprehension of the nature and practice of science and its social context are important aspects of communicating and learning science. However there is still very little understanding amongt the non-scientific community of the need for debate in driving scientific knowledge forward and the role of critical scrutiny in quality control. Peer review is an essential part of this process. We initiated and developed a pilot project to provide an opportunity for students to explore the idea that science is a dynamic process rather than a static body of facts. Students from two different schools experienced the process of peer-review by producing and reviewing comics related to the science done at Rothamsted Research. As authors, students showed a large degree of creativity and understanding of the science while as referees they showed good critical skills. Students had at first hand an insight into how science works.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011


Sep 21, 2011 Commentary
Know your genes. The marketing of direct-to-consumer genetic testing

by Alessandro Delfanti

Genetic testing promises to put the ability to decide about our life choices in our hands, as well as help solve crucial health problems by preventing the insurgence of diseases. But what happens when these exams are managed by private companies in a free market? Public communication and marketing have proven to be crucial battlefields on which companies companies need to engage in order to emerge. This issue of JCOM tries to shed some light on the communication and marketing practices used by private companies that sell direct-to-consumer genetic testing, from single genetic mutations to whole genome sequencing.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011

Book Reviews

Sep 21, 2011 Book Review
A reference for science communication

by Marina Ramalho

The Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication has approximately 300 entries on science communication and is capable of meeting the needs of readers of differing profiles. The entries cover eighteen categories, including controversial science topics and tendencies of media coverage; panoramas of science communication in different regions or continents; legal and ethical aspects; important science players; history, philosophy and sociology of science; theories and research on science communication, and many other topics. By concentrating different information about a field of research and of practical multidisciplinary actions in only one source, the publication serves as a reference for beginners in the area as well as for those who are more experienced in the area. Although conceptualized to serve as quick introductions to the concepts and practices of science communication, the entries are contextualized and each item is explored from various angles in simple language.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011