PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


The role chinese scientists play in influencing public attitudes towards panda bear conservation

L. Yang   Texas A&M University

S. Priest   University of South Carolina

In China, panda bears are successfully set up as a conservation symbol on mass media agenda by science communities. This study briefly exaines the public communication efforts of two major panda research institutes, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda at Wolong. The effectiveness of their institutional efforts on mass media are assessed through a content analysis of the past decade’s panda bear coverage by The People’s Daily. The agenda issues, source use, images and values of the newspaper coverage all reflect how the two institutes frame panda bear conservation. The study argues that although extensive panda bear conservation messages have reached the public, those messages contain biased images and attitudes, and have limited influence on forming the public’s environmental value. It also suggests that the active participation of more scientists and research organizations is essential for spreading informative and balanced conservation messages to the public.

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