Science and media


Internet technologies and specifically social media have drastically changed science communication. The public no longer merely consume science-related information but participate (for example, by rating and disseminating) and generate their own content. Likewise, scientists are no longer dependent on journalists as gatekeepers to spreading relevant information. This paper identifies and reflects on relevant theoretical strands that help to inform theoretical frameworks and research agendas. Therefore, we discuss the technological structures and resulting affordances, a new knowledge order and its actors, as well as trust and rationality as important constructs.


The promotion of quality is a critical aspect to consider in the re-examination of science communication. This problem is analysed in the research carried out by the QUEST project, as featured in this paper. Engaging key stakeholders in a codesign process — through interviews, focus groups, workshops and surveys — the research identified barriers to quality science communication and on the basis of these, proposes a series of tools and supporting material that can serve as incentives toward quality science communication for different stakeholders across the fields of journalism, social media, and museum communication. And it highlights in particular the significance of training in order to promote professionalism amongst communicators.


This paper investigates the dimensions of trust and the role of information sources and channels in developing differentiated forms of science communication. The discussions from two public consultations carried out in Italy and Slovakia about controversial science-related topics were quali-quantitatively content analysed. The results show that scientific knowledge pervades diverse communication spheres, producing differentiated paths of trust in science. Each path is determined by topics (environment or health-related), information sources and channels preferred, and specific features of the multifaceted notion of trust. The contribution discusses cross-national commonalities and specificities and proposes implications for science communication.


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.


When analysing the actors of the science communication ecosystem, scholarly research has focused on the perceptions and attitudes of scientists, science journalists, and science communicators. How the public envisages the roles of science producers and mediators is mostly uncharted territory. We address this gap, by examining the results of a public consultation in Portugal concerning science communication. We show that the public demonstrates a clear preference for science communication performed by scientists, over journalists, although credibility and trust depend on multiple factors. We also ascertain that professional science communicators are mostly invisible, though the public recognises the value of `translators'.


Studies on women's marginalisation as authors and sources of science stories in the media in developing countries are few, and fewer in the context of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Using feminist media theory, this study surmises that women are accordingly underrepresented in GMO stories. Based on a content analysis of 317 stories published in two Ugandan newspapers, findings indicate that chances of females being published as authors and sources increase if they collaborate with a male. There is a need for female scientists to collaborate with male counterparts and journalists to increase their visibility in the media in an agricultural sector where women are great contributors to the labourforce.


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.


The COVID-19 pandemic was the most prominent feature in the media in 2020. This research analyzes the scientific community's perception of the journalistic coverage of the pandemic in the Spanish media. Based on a survey with the participation of 818 respondents, the study revealed that scientists believe that radio did the best job in reporting the pandemic, whereas television did the worst. Among our findings, it is worthwhile to mention that — according to scientists — the media used sensationalistic tones and reports were not particularly accurate nor realistic. Finally, we included the scientific community's recommendations to treat the subject more appropriately.


In this paper we discuss the SARS-CoV-2-related information coverage (beginning of the epidemic) in Italian digital media narratives. We surveyed the digital articles that reported the highest engagement level. The aim was to identify the most prominent variables (topics, players and news coverage area). Similarly, a discourse analysis was carried out by analyzing the tone used in relation to the variables mentioned. The results show that the most important topics were health, politics and the economy. Headlines appeared to be more likely to have a negative tone, although neutral headlines were the most common. The main feature in digital media headlines was civil society.


We lack a good framework to characterize media-related adaptations of researchers. This paper explores Estonian scientists visible in the media to propose five dimensions to characterize the degree of mediatization of a researcher, and describes two basic types of visible scientists. Representatives of one type (‘adapters to media logic’) are able to explain the project simply and engagingly in the media, while those of the second type (‘adopters of media logic’) proactively create media interactions and manage them to achieve strategic aims. The results show how individual actors translate communication objectives into media practices, explaining variabilities in scientists' media presence.


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