Bringing science news is not always easy. Some topics are 'sexier' than others and most science (news) media do not offer space (or time) for too much elaboration. With recent changes in the media landscape, most notably the introduction of the Internet, and more specifically the Web 2.0 features, it is important to gain insight into what these developments mean for bringing science news. Do these changes make it easier or harder to bring this type of news? To answer this question qualitative interviews were held with science journalists from all different media types, as well as with science communication officers and a communication advisor on media formats. In general, changes in media landscape and in (science) journalism indicate a shift in the roles of science communication professionals. Most notable changes seem to be that certain science issues become increasingly 'sellable' (e.g., when there is good visual material available). While the media landscape is changing and new media seems to be uprising, all different kind of media have their specific benefits and drawbacks, also the traditional ones. So each medium can be useful, as long as you choose the medium because of its specific characteristics. All-in-all, two main suggestions seem most important: be creative and speak the right language.

Bringing science news is not always easy. Some topics are 'sexier' than others and most science (news) media do not offer space (or time) for too much elaboration – this causes a gap between what scientists want, what journalists can offer, and what the public needs.

An example: Van der Ploeg (pers com, 2013) indicated that Voedingscentrum1 is reliant on free publicity. One way they draw attention and sometimes even generate news, is by actually doing (small) research projects and sending out press releases presenting the results. One recent study was on the effects of energy drinks. The outcome was that young people experienced negative consequences by consuming these drinks, such as insomnia and feeling shaky. This press release was taken up by many public media. By publishing their own research, Voedingscentrum was able to communicate their take-home-message „drink only one energy drink a day‟ to a much larger audience.

So it is possible for science to become news. But with recent changes in the media landscape (most notably the introduction of the Internet, and more specifically the Web 2.0 features), it is important to gain insight into what these developments mean for bringing science news. Do these changes increase or close this gap between scientists, journalists and the public?

In this paper, the authors will answer the question „Changes in the science media landscape: are changes in the media drivers for changes in science journalism?‟ It iswritten from the perspective of science communication students2 who may choose to become science communicators in the future and then will have to deal with these questions.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Changes in the science media landscape
Are changes in the media drivers for changes in science journalism?

Belinda Gaag   The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Mark Bos   Leiden University

Bringing science news is not always easy. Some topics are 'sexier' than others and most science (news) media do not offer space (or time) for too much elaboration. With recent changes in the media landscape, most notably the introduction of the Internet, and more specifically the Web 2.0 features, it is important to gain insight into what these developments mean for bringing science news. Do these changes make it easier or harder to bring this type of news? To answer this question qualitative interviews were held with science journalists from all different media types, as well as with science communication officers and a communication advisor on media formats. In general, changes in media landscape and in (science) journalism indicate a shift in the roles of science communication professionals. Most notable changes seem to be that certain science issues become increasingly 'sellable' (e.g., when there is good visual material available). While the media landscape is changing and new media seems to be uprising, all different kind of media have their specific benefits and drawbacks, also the traditional ones. So each medium can be useful, as long as you choose the medium because of its specific characteristics. All-in-all, two main suggestions seem most important: be creative and speak the right language.

Bringing science news is not always easy. Some topics are 'sexier' than others and most science (news) media do not offer space (or time) for too much elaboration – this causes a gap between what scientists want, what journalists can offer, and what the public needs.

An example: Van der Ploeg (pers com, 2013) indicated that Voedingscentrum1 is reliant on free publicity. One way they draw attention and sometimes even generate news, is by actually doing (small) research projects and sending out press releases presenting the results. One recent study was on the effects of energy drinks. The outcome was that young people experienced negative consequences by consuming these drinks, such as insomnia and feeling shaky. This press release was taken up by many public media. By publishing their own research, Voedingscentrum was able to communicate their take-home-message „drink only one energy drink a day‟ to a much larger audience.

So it is possible for science to become news. But with recent changes in the media landscape (most notably the introduction of the Internet, and more specifically the Web 2.0 features), it is important to gain insight into what these developments mean for bringing science news. Do these changes increase or close this gap between scientists, journalists and the public?

In this paper, the authors will answer the question „Changes in the science media landscape: are changes in the media drivers for changes in science journalism?‟ It iswritten from the perspective of science communication students2 who may choose to become science communicators in the future and then will have to deal with these questions.

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