Media coverage of social science research can lead to biased representations of the current state of research. One timely example is the coverage of the effects of playing violent video games (VVG) on players’ aggressive behavioral tendencies. Findings in this research field have often been reported by the news media within problematic frames, most importantly, in contexts of high school shootings (i.e., extreme and very rare events of aggression). For the purpose of minimizing the risk of such biases,and to help improve the interplay between social science and media, we present a workshop-based intervention concept.
The target audience of the workshop are journalist trainees who are writing at the intersection of completed formal education and the beginning of daily authorial work. A one-day workshop with such journalist trainees from different types of news media is planned. The workshop consists of several modules, which will be prepared and conducted by experts from various disciplines (e.g.,psychology, communication science).
The primary aim of this workshop is to raise young journalists’ awareness of different bias risks in the media coverage of social sciences, such as the complexity or limited generalizability of single studies. Furthermore, the workshop aims to broaden the trainees’ understanding of fundamentals of research methodology in the social sciences. Finally, the workshop provides a forum for dialogue and debate on possible future perspectives on improving the media-science relation, both with regard to the case of VVG and beyond.
In a second step, the training concept underlying this workshop can be expanded to a professional learning module that could also be embedded in formal programs and curricula of journalistic trainee education, or as a tool for life-long learning and discussion that is offered to more experienced journalists.
At the PCST conference, we intend to introduce the workshop concept with its content modules and discuss conceptual and practical issues with the expert audience.
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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Improving the interplay between science and the media
A workshop concept

Arne Sjöström   Department of Psychology, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany

Mario Gollwitzer   Department of Psychology, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany

Tobias Rothmund   Department of Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

Alexandra Sowka   Department of Journalism and Communication Research (IJK), Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media, Germany

Christoph Klimmt   Department of Journalism and Communication Research (IJK), Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media, Germany

Media coverage of social science research can lead to biased representations of the current state of research. One timely example is the coverage of the effects of playing violent video games (VVG) on players’ aggressive behavioral tendencies. Findings in this research field have often been reported by the news media within problematic frames, most importantly, in contexts of high school shootings (i.e., extreme and very rare events of aggression). For the purpose of minimizing the risk of such biases,and to help improve the interplay between social science and media, we present a workshop-based intervention concept.
The target audience of the workshop are journalist trainees who are writing at the intersection of completed formal education and the beginning of daily authorial work. A one-day workshop with such journalist trainees from different types of news media is planned. The workshop consists of several modules, which will be prepared and conducted by experts from various disciplines (e.g.,psychology, communication science).
The primary aim of this workshop is to raise young journalists’ awareness of different bias risks in the media coverage of social sciences, such as the complexity or limited generalizability of single studies. Furthermore, the workshop aims to broaden the trainees’ understanding of fundamentals of research methodology in the social sciences. Finally, the workshop provides a forum for dialogue and debate on possible future perspectives on improving the media-science relation, both with regard to the case of VVG and beyond.
In a second step, the training concept underlying this workshop can be expanded to a professional learning module that could also be embedded in formal programs and curricula of journalistic trainee education, or as a tool for life-long learning and discussion that is offered to more experienced journalists.
At the PCST conference, we intend to introduce the workshop concept with its content modules and discuss conceptual and practical issues with the expert audience.

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

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