The Lab (www.abc.net.au/science) is an experiment in using the online medium to promote greater science & technology awareness among young adults (15-35).

The site is a mix of original feature articles, columns, humour, games and online events. Although produced by Australia’s national public broadcaster, the Lab has no TV or radio companion. It is the ABC’s first content created solely for an online audience, and delivers an average of around 60,000+ content pages per week.

In terms of science communication we have found the synergies between the Internet and radio and TVvery productive. Unlike traditional broadcasting, online content is not ephemeral. It is much more suited to ”information on demand”. The Net can also provide much faster means for audience interaction – one of our radio science programs streams it’s audio over the Net while at the same time the Lab allows listeners to send messages direct to the host in the studio. Online visitors can continue the discussions long after the program has finished.

The Lab has also exploited the ”distance doesn’t matter” aspect of the Internet. In 1988 we are featuring a diary from the wintering doctor at Mawson Station, Antarctica. This sort of thing is impossible to do via TV or radio because apart from emergencies, winter access to the Antarctic Stations is virtually impossible.

Our experience from the Lab suggests that the combination of TV, radio and online makes for a whole which is much greater than the sum of its parts - with the Internet acting as a kind of ”universal glue” that binds all of our science activities together.

The Lab has grown and changed during its first year of life, and will continue to evolve under the usual selective pressures - budget, funding and budget.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Online content for the ”Science = Yawn” crowd

Ian Allen   Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Science Online

The Lab (www.abc.net.au/science) is an experiment in using the online medium to promote greater science & technology awareness among young adults (15-35).

The site is a mix of original feature articles, columns, humour, games and online events. Although produced by Australia’s national public broadcaster, the Lab has no TV or radio companion. It is the ABC’s first content created solely for an online audience, and delivers an average of around 60,000+ content pages per week.

In terms of science communication we have found the synergies between the Internet and radio and TVvery productive. Unlike traditional broadcasting, online content is not ephemeral. It is much more suited to ”information on demand”. The Net can also provide much faster means for audience interaction – one of our radio science programs streams it’s audio over the Net while at the same time the Lab allows listeners to send messages direct to the host in the studio. Online visitors can continue the discussions long after the program has finished.

The Lab has also exploited the ”distance doesn’t matter” aspect of the Internet. In 1988 we are featuring a diary from the wintering doctor at Mawson Station, Antarctica. This sort of thing is impossible to do via TV or radio because apart from emergencies, winter access to the Antarctic Stations is virtually impossible.

Our experience from the Lab suggests that the combination of TV, radio and online makes for a whole which is much greater than the sum of its parts - with the Internet acting as a kind of ”universal glue” that binds all of our science activities together.

The Lab has grown and changed during its first year of life, and will continue to evolve under the usual selective pressures - budget, funding and budget.

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

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