Science media centres are growing in influence and scope in several countries. There are now 6 of them in developed economies with more coming on stream. The SMC mediate science news by sending out weekly science stories, link journalists to scientists and sponsor webinars on breaking news or stories that will be coming up. Even though each SMC operates differently there are journalists who feel the media centres services infringe on journalistic independence. Others find their services helpful and non threatening. What is the evidence for this claim and is it justified? Is journalistic integrity compromised? Is the calibre of science in the news really improved. which is one of the stated goals of the SMC‘s? What is a good measure of that outcome? Do the SMC‘s have the unintended outcome of diminishing the need for specialized science reporters? As science journalists become rarer in legacy media, are SMC‘s likely to talk over that function? What are the risks to independent journalism if the centres prosper? Are they good for science communication, but not for science journalism? This paper explores these themes using new research and a small case study from the Canadian science media centre with the full awareness that one country‘s model does not apply to all.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science media centres?
Mediating or manipulating science news?

Kathryn O‘Hara   Carleton University

Science media centres are growing in influence and scope in several countries. There are now 6 of them in developed economies with more coming on stream. The SMC mediate science news by sending out weekly science stories, link journalists to scientists and sponsor webinars on breaking news or stories that will be coming up. Even though each SMC operates differently there are journalists who feel the media centres services infringe on journalistic independence. Others find their services helpful and non threatening. What is the evidence for this claim and is it justified? Is journalistic integrity compromised? Is the calibre of science in the news really improved. which is one of the stated goals of the SMC‘s? What is a good measure of that outcome? Do the SMC‘s have the unintended outcome of diminishing the need for specialized science reporters? As science journalists become rarer in legacy media, are SMC‘s likely to talk over that function? What are the risks to independent journalism if the centres prosper? Are they good for science communication, but not for science journalism? This paper explores these themes using new research and a small case study from the Canadian science media centre with the full awareness that one country‘s model does not apply to all.

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

BACK TO TOP