Background: The availability of social media is deeply affecting the way information is being generated and spread. More and more researchers are using blogs and social media to communicate directly to the public not only the outcomes but also the processes of science. Science journals are encouraging this practice, hosting researchers and journalists’ blogs within their websites. The Italian situation is not at pace with the international one. Objective/hypothesis: The advent of blogs and social media affects the same practice of science writing. Journalists and communicators cannot avoid to confront this mutated landscape in order to redesign their role. An open discussion over the contemporary challenges of the journalistic profession is needed, particularly in Italy where the rigid "Ordine dei giornalisti" does not seem to take into account this evolution.

Methods: A selected number of blogs kept by researchers and science journalists, self published or within journals, are discussed. Blogging practices are compared using framework analysis. Over 30 semi structured interviews to Italian and international journalists enquire over their use of blogs as a informal/professional tool.

Results: The analysis highlights that most Italian journalists hardly see blog as a professional tool and evaluate feedback and contributions from others. On the contrary, quite a few bloggers have migrated within the media thanks to their activity. Journalists and researchers have strong interest towards social media but impact on their profession is not defined. Finally, the Italian community of scientists and science writers is not exploiting the web to be in the international debate.

Conclusions: Blogs and social media are changing the landscape of science communication. Internationally, researchers are directly confronting their public and openly discussing their science. Thus, science news are more promptly available on the web. Science writers are asked to cultivate the more challenging role of framing and of applying critical mindness to science and technology developments rather than simply amplify the news. In Italy, this phenomenon is still far from being common practice and examples of good practices are insufficient.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Social media and blogs
Is there an impact on science journalism and communication?

Elisabetta Tola   Formicablu srl

Marco Boscolo   Formicablu srl

Background: The availability of social media is deeply affecting the way information is being generated and spread. More and more researchers are using blogs and social media to communicate directly to the public not only the outcomes but also the processes of science. Science journals are encouraging this practice, hosting researchers and journalists’ blogs within their websites. The Italian situation is not at pace with the international one. Objective/hypothesis: The advent of blogs and social media affects the same practice of science writing. Journalists and communicators cannot avoid to confront this mutated landscape in order to redesign their role. An open discussion over the contemporary challenges of the journalistic profession is needed, particularly in Italy where the rigid "Ordine dei giornalisti" does not seem to take into account this evolution.

Methods: A selected number of blogs kept by researchers and science journalists, self published or within journals, are discussed. Blogging practices are compared using framework analysis. Over 30 semi structured interviews to Italian and international journalists enquire over their use of blogs as a informal/professional tool.

Results: The analysis highlights that most Italian journalists hardly see blog as a professional tool and evaluate feedback and contributions from others. On the contrary, quite a few bloggers have migrated within the media thanks to their activity. Journalists and researchers have strong interest towards social media but impact on their profession is not defined. Finally, the Italian community of scientists and science writers is not exploiting the web to be in the international debate.

Conclusions: Blogs and social media are changing the landscape of science communication. Internationally, researchers are directly confronting their public and openly discussing their science. Thus, science news are more promptly available on the web. Science writers are asked to cultivate the more challenging role of framing and of applying critical mindness to science and technology developments rather than simply amplify the news. In Italy, this phenomenon is still far from being common practice and examples of good practices are insufficient.

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

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