Several excellent articles and books have been written in the last decades on the analysis of science programmes of traditional media. Throughout the years scientific programmes of radio stations and televisions all around the world have been studied and observed with methodologies coming from different fields of social research, while international networks and forums of science journalists where successfully created. This research presents an attempt to focus on a new type of interaction which still takes place in traditional media programmes but escapes traditional contexts of scientific programmes.

Starting from a previous general study on the presence of science in Catalan television this new research has been deepening into the analysis of interactions which occur in a magazine programme called “Els Matins”, broadcasted by the main Catalan public channel (TV3). The programme has turned out to be an extremely interesting case study when it comes to science communication as it presents a great variety of actors and interactions whenever dealing with science topics. Being broadcasted every day from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 1 pm, the programme sees the two presenters going through a series of interviews, debates, news and weekly sections that often involve science topics taken from a variety of fields.

Using the methodology coming from the field of Discourse Analysis, and in particular that of Conversation Analysis, the author has been studying and comparing two main types of interactions which occur inside “Els Matins”:the one between the presenters and the invited scientist, which takes place weekly and has a duration of twenty minutes (“Ciència amb Ramon Folch”); and the one between the presenters and the variety of invited guests (such as politicians, researchers, civil associations, citizens, lawyers, etc.) who participate almost daily in interviews and debates on scientific topics – between others. Due to its nature the programme has the tendency to often deal with (but not only) scientific topics which are strongly related with everyday life or to important ethical and political issues. This happens both inside the general debates and in the specific section dedicated to science (i.e. issues related with the advancement of the health system as well as ethical issues in medical research, local environmental problems such as the scarcity of water supply, public funding to scientific research,etc.), which made such a case study even more interesting to analyze.

The work has underlined the importance of studying also the scientific discourse happening outside specific and dedicated contexts - such as science programmes - even when analyzing traditional mass media. It shows how the proximity between the public and the scientific topics/problems/dilemmas/hopes and controversies (through the mediation of the journalists/presenters) increases considerably when dealt with outside specific “media spaces” labeled as science spaces. Relevant results emerged through the analysis have shown how interactional occasions which occur in more general spaces can generate more effective and interactive discourses than one-way interactions that occur inside specifically dedicated spaces.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Scientific conversations outside science programmes contexts
A case study analysis

Marzia Mazzonetto   Communication Department (Departament de Comunicaci√ɬ≥), Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Several excellent articles and books have been written in the last decades on the analysis of science programmes of traditional media. Throughout the years scientific programmes of radio stations and televisions all around the world have been studied and observed with methodologies coming from different fields of social research, while international networks and forums of science journalists where successfully created. This research presents an attempt to focus on a new type of interaction which still takes place in traditional media programmes but escapes traditional contexts of scientific programmes.

Starting from a previous general study on the presence of science in Catalan television this new research has been deepening into the analysis of interactions which occur in a magazine programme called “Els Matins”, broadcasted by the main Catalan public channel (TV3). The programme has turned out to be an extremely interesting case study when it comes to science communication as it presents a great variety of actors and interactions whenever dealing with science topics. Being broadcasted every day from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 1 pm, the programme sees the two presenters going through a series of interviews, debates, news and weekly sections that often involve science topics taken from a variety of fields.

Using the methodology coming from the field of Discourse Analysis, and in particular that of Conversation Analysis, the author has been studying and comparing two main types of interactions which occur inside “Els Matins”:the one between the presenters and the invited scientist, which takes place weekly and has a duration of twenty minutes (“Ciència amb Ramon Folch”); and the one between the presenters and the variety of invited guests (such as politicians, researchers, civil associations, citizens, lawyers, etc.) who participate almost daily in interviews and debates on scientific topics – between others. Due to its nature the programme has the tendency to often deal with (but not only) scientific topics which are strongly related with everyday life or to important ethical and political issues. This happens both inside the general debates and in the specific section dedicated to science (i.e. issues related with the advancement of the health system as well as ethical issues in medical research, local environmental problems such as the scarcity of water supply, public funding to scientific research,etc.), which made such a case study even more interesting to analyze.

The work has underlined the importance of studying also the scientific discourse happening outside specific and dedicated contexts - such as science programmes - even when analyzing traditional mass media. It shows how the proximity between the public and the scientific topics/problems/dilemmas/hopes and controversies (through the mediation of the journalists/presenters) increases considerably when dealt with outside specific “media spaces” labeled as science spaces. Relevant results emerged through the analysis have shown how interactional occasions which occur in more general spaces can generate more effective and interactive discourses than one-way interactions that occur inside specifically dedicated spaces.

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

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