Science and media

21/09/2016

This issue of JCOM presents some interesting challenges relating to trust and the media ecology that supports science communication. Weingart and Guenther have organised a set of commentaries considering the issue of trust and media from different points of view, by asking for responses to their paper 'Science Communication and the Issue of Trust'. The commentaries focus on traditional and social media and the actors that contribute to media content, though they do not consider 'paid for' content (also known as advertising), which is the subject of a paper by Silva and Simonian also published in this issue of JCOM.

20/07/2016

BOOK: Olson, R. (2015). Houston, we have a narrative: Why science needs story. Chicago, U.S.A.: University of Chicago Press

Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson makes a bold claim: scientists cannot adequately explain their own work. He attributes all of the issues facing science communication today ― false positives, an uninterested public, and unapproved grant proposals ― to scientists' lack of narrative intuition. Rather than turn to the humanities for help, Olson suggests scientists learn from the true masters of storytelling ― Hollywood filmmakers. His latest book examines the age-old divide between science and the humanities, as well as the new adversarial relationship between science and film, which he says can save science.

22/06/2016

This commentary seeks to spark further discussion on the continuing professional development in science communication, presenting comments from practitioners who were asked to reflect on the competences and skills their profession requires, and to envisage what kind of training might provide them. This introduction presents some common issues that emerge within the comments: the necessity to face rapidly evolving professional landscapes, to answer to new missions and roles, to consider the growing impact and potential of new technologies. Alternative training methods are also discussed.

17/06/2016

BOOK: Content is king; News media management in the digital age.
Graham, G., Greenhill, A., Shaw, D.Andvargo, C., Eds (2015), London, U.K.: Bloomsbury

The ‘traditional’ media industry ― newspapers and magazines and the like ― have had a difficult time lately thanks to increasing competition online. This book's chapters consider ways the traditional media can reinvent themselves to secure their future. Two key themes that emerge from the chapters are the importance of building communities and the increasing role of credibility in today's highly-competitive media landscape. While this book does not focus on the science media, many of the conclusions are relevant to it, in fact some are cause for comfort for those involved with science journalism.

07/06/2016

The authors present a quantitative content analysis to assess the use of mathematical information in the news of five generalist Portuguese newspapers during a three-month period. Misuses of mathematics were also studied in this context. Results show that only a small percentage of the news articles have mathematical information when compared to previous studies in the field. Furthermore, over 30% of the news articles containing mathematical information have some type of mathematical error. Different categories of errors are defined and reasons why these might occur are discussed.

25/05/2016

This article provides a first statistical analysis of the typologies and characteristics of popular science web videos on YouTube. An analysis of 190 videos from 95 online video channels was conducted. Several factors such as narrative strategies, video editing techniques, and design tendencies with regard to cinematography, the number of shots, the kind of montage used, and even the use of sound design and special FX point to a notable professionalism among science communicators independent of institutional or personal commitments. This analysis represents an important step in understanding the essence of current popular science web videos and provides an evidence-based description of their distinctive features.

17/03/2016

As a result of the large number of media used and a variety of objectives pursued by the various Public Communication of Science (PCS) activities, their evaluation turns into a daunting task. Therefore, a general taxonomy for all the approaches used by PCS could be helpful in order to differentiate their effects and to measure their results. A general format is proposed for a fast and easy evaluation of PCS efforts and to share a common language with all science communicators, who need to easily compare the results of this growing activity.

10/12/2015

This study addresses an open question about science bloggers' self-perceived roles as science communicators. Previous research has investigated the roles science journalists see themselves engaging in, but such research has failed to capture the experiences of science bloggers as a broad and diverse group that is yet often very different in their practices from professional journalists. In this study, a survey of over 600 science bloggers reveals that on the broadest level, science bloggers see themselves engaging most often as explainers of science and public intellectuals. Perceived communication role depends predominantly on occupation, science communication training, blog affiliation and gender.

29/09/2015

The largest meeting of science journalists took place this summer in Seoul, Korea. It bore the imprint of a few of the previous ones — as a gathering to build community and encourage beginners —, but also showed some marked changes from when it all started back in 1992, as told by some of the leading actors.

09/07/2015

The standardisation and selectivity of information were characteristics of science journalism in the printed medium that the digital editions of journals have inherited. This essay explores this fact from the international perspective, with a special focus on the Spanish case.

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