PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


What makes a mediatized scientist?

Arko Olesk  

Mediatization is often described as the adaptation of different social fields or systems to the institutionalized rules of the media, the so-called „media logic" (Couldry & Hepp 2013). In science, the process is encouraged by the motivation of scientists and research organizations to increase their public visibility and use media as a legitimation tool for This paper is based on the study of the research group behind EstCube-1, Estonian first satellite. Achieving substantial media coverage throughout the course of the project (2008-2015) they have become a success story of science communication. Eight interviews were conducted with the team members to map their media activities, learning process and attitudes towards media. The results show that the interviewees perceived the media as having a distinct logic which they need to adopt in order to get their message across. The expressed attitudes and adopted practices such as proactivity towards media were used to build a set of indicators to indicate different levels of mediatization. Reflections on personal experiences, special media training and encouragement from colleagues combine to give researchers media confidence and the perceived sense of mastering media logic. The results, however, also reveal that the effects are not uniform across the research group, showing the enhancing role of media trainings.

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