Science and technology are presently facing an acceptance crisis. One strategy to counter the lack of acceptance consists in strengthening public relations. The efforts of scientific institutions to boost their PR work meets with a period of weakness on the side of journalism. The number of published units is decreasing, competition between publishing houses is diminishing. Editorial departments are being reduced, journalistic spheres of competence outsourced, specialized editorial departments are shut down. On the other hand we are confronted with a growing number of PR workers. Public relations to a growing extent copies journalistic methods and exerts influence on journalists. Regarding the coverage of science in particular, one can state that the evaluation criteria of scientists leave their mark on the coverage of science journalism. This paper gathers some indicators for these general tendencies. Especially the illegitimate methods of taking influence shall be scrutinized and discussed.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The distorted view on science. On the weakness of journalism and the strength of public relations

Winfried Goepfert   Freie Universitaet Berlin

Science and technology are presently facing an acceptance crisis. One strategy to counter the lack of acceptance consists in strengthening public relations. The efforts of scientific institutions to boost their PR work meets with a period of weakness on the side of journalism. The number of published units is decreasing, competition between publishing houses is diminishing. Editorial departments are being reduced, journalistic spheres of competence outsourced, specialized editorial departments are shut down. On the other hand we are confronted with a growing number of PR workers. Public relations to a growing extent copies journalistic methods and exerts influence on journalists. Regarding the coverage of science in particular, one can state that the evaluation criteria of scientists leave their mark on the coverage of science journalism. This paper gathers some indicators for these general tendencies. Especially the illegitimate methods of taking influence shall be scrutinized and discussed.

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