Science and technology are communicated to the public in many different ways. Most of these share one crucial feature: editorial control of what is communicated lies in the hands of the communicators, rather than those of the audiences with which they communicate. There are small exceptions to this rule: letters pages in newspapers and magazines, for example; and "phone-in" programmes in radio and TV. In these cases, at least some editorial control over what is happening passes from the producers of scientific information to the consumers. The paper will suggest that a more important area for consumerist public communication about science and technology is the field of public inquiry services offering direct access to information across a desk, or in reply to a letter or telephone call. Examples of such services will be considered, including some recent experiments in the Science Museum in London.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

A consumerist approach to PCST?

John Durant   Assistant Director (Research and Information), Science Museum, London; Visiting Professor of Public Understanding of Science, Imperial College, London

Science and technology are communicated to the public in many different ways. Most of these share one crucial feature: editorial control of what is communicated lies in the hands of the communicators, rather than those of the audiences with which they communicate. There are small exceptions to this rule: letters pages in newspapers and magazines, for example; and "phone-in" programmes in radio and TV. In these cases, at least some editorial control over what is happening passes from the producers of scientific information to the consumers. The paper will suggest that a more important area for consumerist public communication about science and technology is the field of public inquiry services offering direct access to information across a desk, or in reply to a letter or telephone call. Examples of such services will be considered, including some recent experiments in the Science Museum in London.

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

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