The great impact of September 11 on society and public opinion is still there for  everyone to  see. But the terrorist attack and the anthrax letters  circulating in the U.S. in October 2001 have greatly affected the mechanisms of science communication as well – a tangible evidence is the Statement on Scientific  Publication and Security of February 2003.In what way was it mirrored in lay press and scientific journals? We analysed  articles on bioterrorism published  by a daily  newspaper,  the American New York Times,  and two scientific journals, Science and Nature. The identified articles were then grouped into seven different topics: science, health, research policy, security, politics, economics and ethics. Surprisingly,  politics and economics  make up together for 22% of  the articles analysed for  Science, and the percentage  goes up  to 34% for  Nature – figures similar or even much higher than those found in the New York Times  (23%).The  debate on  bioterrorism  seems  therefore to have  deeply  influenced  science  communication,  opening up for ethical, political and economic aspects in the narration  of science, which further deepen the links between science  and society.

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Science communication after September 11

Giancarlo Sturloni   Innovations in the Communication of Science(ICS) , Science and Society Sector, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste , Italy

Maria Chiara Montani   Innovations in the Communication of Science(ICS) , Science and Society Sector, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste , Italy

The great impact of September 11 on society and public opinion is still there for  everyone to  see. But the terrorist attack and the anthrax letters  circulating in the U.S. in October 2001 have greatly affected the mechanisms of science communication as well – a tangible evidence is the Statement on Scientific  Publication and Security of February 2003.In what way was it mirrored in lay press and scientific journals? We analysed  articles on bioterrorism published  by a daily  newspaper,  the American New York Times,  and two scientific journals, Science and Nature. The identified articles were then grouped into seven different topics: science, health, research policy, security, politics, economics and ethics. Surprisingly,  politics and economics  make up together for 22% of  the articles analysed for  Science, and the percentage  goes up  to 34% for  Nature – figures similar or even much higher than those found in the New York Times  (23%).The  debate on  bioterrorism  seems  therefore to have  deeply  influenced  science  communication,  opening up for ethical, political and economic aspects in the narration  of science, which further deepen the links between science  and society.

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