Scientific communication is an area that encompasses diverse disciplines. This interdisciplinarity corresponds with the interest that these areas recognize in the communication process of new knowledge. Particularly, authors such as Michael Gibbons (1999) argue that scientific work today is not only validated by its inherent strengths, but also for being “socially robust”, because of the change of current scientific production. In developing countries such as Chile, science still has little social value. In a survey developed in 2009 in various urban centers in Latin America, Chile is the only country in which none of the respondents consider a priority issue the funding science and technology (Albornoz et al., 2009). In addition, Chile is one of the Latin American countries with less news treatment of scientific topics (Massarani & Buys, 2007) with only 1% of national press coverage (Parodi & Ferrari, 2007). However, the country has had a steady growth in scientific production in recent years, tripling the number of publications of scientific papers between the years 2000 and 2010 (Scimago, 2010). This contradiction highlights the relationship between science, media and society. The public communication of science, as a mediator, is vital in this process (Cortassa, 2010, 2012), but in the case of Chile the situation is even more complex and has many limitations. For example, scientists in Chile are not trained in social communication. The graduate programs in this field are scarce and training programs about public communication of science are not targeted exclusively to science students who lack skills in the communicational field (Alvarez, 2012). In undergraduate studies of journalism training in public communication of science is almost inexistent. In this paper the results of a survey done during 2012 and applied to Chilean scientific journalists and analysis of the curricula of the journalism careers offered in Chile are presented. The study shows that most science journalists lack professional training in the field, having to fill this gap through self- education. Also, universities are not delivering contextual and conceptual bases in science communication. This reflects the need of strengthening the training of journalists and scientists in Chile, to generate narratives of science beyond the usual stereotypes (results and applications) and to improve the relationship between science and society.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communicating science in chile
Problems in journalism training and scientific communication

Lorena Valderrama   Institute for the History of Medicine and Science, Chile

Raimundo Roberts   Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile, Chile

Evelyn Nahuelhual   Asociación Chilena de Periodistas Científicos, Chile

Scientific communication is an area that encompasses diverse disciplines. This interdisciplinarity corresponds with the interest that these areas recognize in the communication process of new knowledge. Particularly, authors such as Michael Gibbons (1999) argue that scientific work today is not only validated by its inherent strengths, but also for being “socially robust”, because of the change of current scientific production. In developing countries such as Chile, science still has little social value. In a survey developed in 2009 in various urban centers in Latin America, Chile is the only country in which none of the respondents consider a priority issue the funding science and technology (Albornoz et al., 2009). In addition, Chile is one of the Latin American countries with less news treatment of scientific topics (Massarani & Buys, 2007) with only 1% of national press coverage (Parodi & Ferrari, 2007). However, the country has had a steady growth in scientific production in recent years, tripling the number of publications of scientific papers between the years 2000 and 2010 (Scimago, 2010). This contradiction highlights the relationship between science, media and society. The public communication of science, as a mediator, is vital in this process (Cortassa, 2010, 2012), but in the case of Chile the situation is even more complex and has many limitations. For example, scientists in Chile are not trained in social communication. The graduate programs in this field are scarce and training programs about public communication of science are not targeted exclusively to science students who lack skills in the communicational field (Alvarez, 2012). In undergraduate studies of journalism training in public communication of science is almost inexistent. In this paper the results of a survey done during 2012 and applied to Chilean scientific journalists and analysis of the curricula of the journalism careers offered in Chile are presented. The study shows that most science journalists lack professional training in the field, having to fill this gap through self- education. Also, universities are not delivering contextual and conceptual bases in science communication. This reflects the need of strengthening the training of journalists and scientists in Chile, to generate narratives of science beyond the usual stereotypes (results and applications) and to improve the relationship between science and society.

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