PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Scientists are more satisfied with journalists

Arnold Stroemer  

A healthy working atmosphere between scientists and journalists should be essential for good science reporting. In 1984 Jens Krüger and Hans Peter Peters interviewed 671 scientists at the University of Mainz and at the Research Centre Jülich. In their study they analyzed scientists attitudes on journalists reporting about science and the scientists work. Misunderstandings between science journalists and scientists which occurred in this study are judged differently today.

In this paper I report about a new study in 1997 using most of the questionnaire of Krüger and Peters. In my study I interviewed 723 scientists at the Research Centre Jülich and at the three universities of Berlin.

The results were: Twice as many scientists are more satisfied with journalists nowadays compared to the situation in     1984. Scientists assess the journalistic work done on their major fields of study more critically than other fields of scientific work.

Scientists working in the same field do not often share the same opinion on the results. Scientists at the universities in Berlin have more contact and a better understanding of the mass media than their colleagues at the Research Centre in Jülich.

There is no difference in opinion between German scientists who started their career in the former GDR and those who began in the FRG.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.