This study has been generated from material constructed as part of the ENSCOT (European Network of Science Communication Teachers) project. As part of this project, researchers in five different countries are preparing teaching materials on aspects of science in the media. In this paper we present initial findings from a “snapshot” of science reporting in French, German, Irish, Spanish and United Kingdom newspapers during April 2001. Science stories or science- based stories were collected from newspapers in each country over a four-day period. We compiled print media samples for each country that were intended to reflect some of the diversity in the newspaper marketplace. In each of the country samples there were popular or mid-market newspapers with no specialist science staff as well as (mainly) elite newspapers with science editors, science correspondents or other designated specialists in the domain. For the study, we developed an inclusive definition of a science-based story and applied it across the selected media outlets to produce a sample encompassing diverse journalism formats. After applying this selection procedure, a number of observations were made which were constant across cultures, which we will present. These results include:

• A large majority of sampled stories was based on life sciences, or biomedical sciences.

• A small minority of the sampled stories was based directly on material published in the scientific journals.

The paper will examine differences in selection and treatment of science news across these five European countries and the challenges this raises for science communication researchers.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science in the news
A cross-cultural study of newspapers in five European countries.

Richard Holliman   Open University

Brian Trench   Dublin City University, Ireland

Declan Fahy   Dublin City University, Ireland

Isabel Basedas  

Gemma Revuelta Universitat Pompeu Fabra  

Utz Lederbogen – Freie Universitaet

This study has been generated from material constructed as part of the ENSCOT (European Network of Science Communication Teachers) project. As part of this project, researchers in five different countries are preparing teaching materials on aspects of science in the media. In this paper we present initial findings from a “snapshot” of science reporting in French, German, Irish, Spanish and United Kingdom newspapers during April 2001. Science stories or science- based stories were collected from newspapers in each country over a four-day period. We compiled print media samples for each country that were intended to reflect some of the diversity in the newspaper marketplace. In each of the country samples there were popular or mid-market newspapers with no specialist science staff as well as (mainly) elite newspapers with science editors, science correspondents or other designated specialists in the domain. For the study, we developed an inclusive definition of a science-based story and applied it across the selected media outlets to produce a sample encompassing diverse journalism formats. After applying this selection procedure, a number of observations were made which were constant across cultures, which we will present. These results include:

• A large majority of sampled stories was based on life sciences, or biomedical sciences.

• A small minority of the sampled stories was based directly on material published in the scientific journals.

The paper will examine differences in selection and treatment of science news across these five European countries and the challenges this raises for science communication researchers.

[PDF 76.66 kB]Download the full paper (PDF 76.66 kB)

BACK TO TOP