Media, specially television, has today overcome geographical, economical and cultural barriers. That makes media the main source for the public uptake of science. But what about the media coverage of research in reportage and in the daily news? In what way are the science news reports overcoming the barriers of understanding and the psychological distances? What are the limits and possibilities of media to communicate science?

With examples from media research of news and informative programs I will discuss these problems. What do we learn from television news? Where are the main obstacles? Here there is a long research tradition as far back as the 50-ties that include comprehension, remembering and knowledge gaps.

Environmental issues are among the most serious problems facing us. The media coverage is sometimes extensive. Yet the public is often dissatisfied with risk reporting in media, especially when it comes to important decisions like a referendum about locating a high intensive nuclear waste disposal in the neighbourhood. What kind of information do the media offer? Are there explanations and background information? Are there scientists and experts that can be trusted?

With the help of findings from news media research and case studies from environmental reporting in the media I will discuss the possibilities and limitations in the media’s ability to communicate science.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

What are the possibilities and limits of media to communicate science?

Olle Findahl   Umea University, Sweden

Media, specially television, has today overcome geographical, economical and cultural barriers. That makes media the main source for the public uptake of science. But what about the media coverage of research in reportage and in the daily news? In what way are the science news reports overcoming the barriers of understanding and the psychological distances? What are the limits and possibilities of media to communicate science?

With examples from media research of news and informative programs I will discuss these problems. What do we learn from television news? Where are the main obstacles? Here there is a long research tradition as far back as the 50-ties that include comprehension, remembering and knowledge gaps.

Environmental issues are among the most serious problems facing us. The media coverage is sometimes extensive. Yet the public is often dissatisfied with risk reporting in media, especially when it comes to important decisions like a referendum about locating a high intensive nuclear waste disposal in the neighbourhood. What kind of information do the media offer? Are there explanations and background information? Are there scientists and experts that can be trusted?

With the help of findings from news media research and case studies from environmental reporting in the media I will discuss the possibilities and limitations in the media’s ability to communicate science.

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

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