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.
News media is one of the main sources of information for many people around the world on climate change. It not only increases awareness among the public but also has the potential to sensitize people toward climate change impacts. To date, few studies focus on media coverage of climate change in low-income countries such as Pakistan which is among the top ten countries impacted by global warming. This study used Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic modeling and analyzed 7,655 climate change-related news articles published between 2010 and 2021 in three Pakistani English newspapers. Our results suggest that climate change coverage in Pakistan has substantially increased over the years, however, the focus has generally been on “climate politics,” “climate governance and policy,” and “climate change and society.” Evolution of the different themes and their potential impacts on people are discussed.
The paper highlights the feedback loop between media, politics, foreign influence and science in relation to the adoption of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food production in Uganda to demonstrate that socio-cultural considerations are important in the GMO science and technology debates. Based on the science-in-society model, the findings from a content analysis of newspaper articles over a four-year period, supplemented by interviews with scientists, activists from non-governmental organisations, journalists, and Members of Parliament's Science and Technology Committee, the study found that food is a politically thick issue. Both activists and scientists opportunistically use the media, the platforms where the public access and contribute content, to appeal to the politicians to legislate GMOs in their favour, arguing that the activists or the scientists' position is in the `public interest'. Often, such coverage produces a paradox for the public by accelerating uncertainty regarding the science and the products of genetic modification, especially when politicians fail to decide for fear of the political implications of their action as is the case in Uganda.
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.
Citizen science projects are valued for their impact on participants' knowledge, attitude and behavior towards science. In this paper, we explore how participation in biodiversity citizen science projects is correlated to different dimensions of trust in science. We conduct a quantitative study through an online survey of 1,199 individuals, 586 of them being part of a biodiversity citizen science program in France. Our results suggest that participation-related trust is more exhaustive — it covers more dimensions of the scientific endeavor — than education-related trust. This exploratory study calls for more empirical research on the links between citizen science and the different dimensions of public trust in science.
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.
Science communication is a relatively new field of practice, shaped by a diverse group of professional science communicators and the way they make sense of their work. A distinguishing feature of these professional science communicators is the organisational context they work in. Based on a typology from an organisational theory framework, this study explores the perspectives of 15 German science communicators through qualitative interviews. It seems that while they tend to draw on a common set of building blocks, they use them to construct individual professional identity configurations partly influenced by their organisational context.
This research addresses the association between attention to science fiction and public opinion of human genome editing (HGE). Using a nationally representative survey, our results show that attention to science fiction is associated with both risk and benefit perception of the technology. In addition, results show that, at higher levels of attention to science fiction, the levels of concern from conservatives (ordinarily predisposed to negative views toward science) and from liberals (ordinarily predisposed to positive views toward science) come closer to being the same. This research contributes to our understanding of debates about controversial science.
AR/VR applications are gaining prominence in exhibition communication. In this field research project, we developed an assessment model to identify major AV/VR application types and their functions. We then used this model to describe 32 contemporary multimedia exhibition applications in 12 countries. During our visits to the exhibitions, we assumed the perspective of the non-specialist visitor to better identify communicative effects of AR/VR applications and compare them with traditional guides developed for similar exhibitions. Our results show that these innovative sources of information may significantly contribute to visitor enjoyment as well as knowledge gain and retention.
Andrew J. Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, has written “The Engaged Scholar — Expanding the Impact of Academic Research in Today's World” (2021 Stanford University Press). According to the author, most researchers want to make a difference, but academic institutions often do not value public engagement, leading to disengaged scientists. Hoffman gives and reexamines arguments for why scholars should engage with other parts of society. He conveys several tips on how to do it and encourages researchers to take part in public debate. The limitations of the current evaluation system are also scrutinized, and new measures of impact discussed. The book is worth reading for academic leaders and researchers, as well as science communicators and science journalists.
With its attention to empirical detail and theoretical analysis, the book is an important contribution to the field of science-and-theatre studies. The reader will not only gain insight into the many ways in which science and theatre have been combined, but also become familiar with best practices and interesting cases. The book depicts science-and-theatre as a diverse and vibrant field. Framed as a study in communicating science and technology with the performing arts, the book will serve as a source of inspiration for science communicators and science communication researchers.
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.
Alongside informative discussions on Science Communication and Public Engagement, Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation 2022 reveals a field, a practice, and a community in transition. In and out of session discussions uncovered underlying tensions as well as potential synergies along a spectrum of practice between established disseminatory methodologies and participatory approaches. The future for best practice, collaboration, and growth for science communication in Germany will be a fascinating one to track.