As most of us know, 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 – cause a gap between what scientists want, what journalists can offer, and what the public needs. 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 how these developments increase or close this gap. Based on a literature study (internationally oriented) and a group discussion supplemented with individual interviews (nationally oriented: The Netherlands), this session will introduce our findings of changes in the science media landscape in order to initiate a discussion about whether or not these changes are drivers for changes in science journalism practice. In our research, we moved forth from the news of Angelina Jolie’s preventive surgery, as an example of how news diffuses from the private to the public domain and of how different media make different choices in how to bring that news. In the context of science communication specifically, the example is interesting because the news was used to discuss cancer in a broader context, illustrating the various interactions between various participants in this diffusion process, while at the same time illustrating the way in which media go about reporting uncertainties, chances and health risks, etc. In example, journalists were asked if they would use this “human-interest-news” as a “hop-over” to bring more “hard-science-news.” As such, news-criteria – generally established based on regular news – were reevaluated in the context of science news. Another example was the discussion on how changes in the media landscape result in new or different pitfalls and chances for science journalism. According to our experts, the quality of journalistic science stories is not per se dependent on characteristics of a medium but rather on the publication-drift (wanting to be the first to bring the news), manpower, and financial aspects. We propose to host an interactive workshop, using a real and recent case, to let participants experience the complexity of this diffusion process. Would you bring this news?
What media would you select, and why? Together with the participants we will validate our existing “tips & tricks” list in a more international context.

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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?

Mark Jeroen Wim Bos   The Hague University/Leiden University, Netherlands

Belinda van der Gaag   The Hague University, Netherlands

As most of us know, 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 – cause a gap between what scientists want, what journalists can offer, and what the public needs. 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 how these developments increase or close this gap. Based on a literature study (internationally oriented) and a group discussion supplemented with individual interviews (nationally oriented: The Netherlands), this session will introduce our findings of changes in the science media landscape in order to initiate a discussion about whether or not these changes are drivers for changes in science journalism practice. In our research, we moved forth from the news of Angelina Jolie’s preventive surgery, as an example of how news diffuses from the private to the public domain and of how different media make different choices in how to bring that news. In the context of science communication specifically, the example is interesting because the news was used to discuss cancer in a broader context, illustrating the various interactions between various participants in this diffusion process, while at the same time illustrating the way in which media go about reporting uncertainties, chances and health risks, etc. In example, journalists were asked if they would use this “human-interest-news” as a “hop-over” to bring more “hard-science-news.” As such, news-criteria – generally established based on regular news – were reevaluated in the context of science news. Another example was the discussion on how changes in the media landscape result in new or different pitfalls and chances for science journalism. According to our experts, the quality of journalistic science stories is not per se dependent on characteristics of a medium but rather on the publication-drift (wanting to be the first to bring the news), manpower, and financial aspects. We propose to host an interactive workshop, using a real and recent case, to let participants experience the complexity of this diffusion process. Would you bring this news?
What media would you select, and why? Together with the participants we will validate our existing “tips & tricks” list in a more international context.

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

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