This conclusion is the result of nearly a decade of experience as a science journalist in TV, as a sceptical consumer of international science productions and as a regular delegate to the yearly World Congress of Science Producers.

Why Discovery et al. are bad for science journalism - here are some arguments:
• Alibi: The mission of science channels is the exclusive coverage of science and technology topics. In that way they contribute to the ban of science programming to specialty channels e.g. like Arte became the home of sophisticated cultural programming.
• Business: Science channels are commercial and therefore market principles apply - bestsellers are „life greatest mysteries“: dinosaurs, volcanoes, mummies etc.
• Think global: Science channels developed into international enterprises and hence have to suit viewers from Germany to Southeast Asia. The result is a big compromise - „TV unisex“ for all sizes and tastes!
• PR-machine: Science channels are non-political, non-sceptical around the clock PR-machines. Mainly because they cooperate with socalled independent production companies which are far from being „independent“. They rarely attack governments and institutions since they need the contacts for business.
• Human TV: Science channels are looking for the human interest story and unfortunately most scientists are neither protagonist nor antagonist of a good story and in general we don’t fall in love with molecules!
• Recycling: Science channel programmes require a long shelf-life i.e. only several reruns a day - a month  - a year will pay off the production costs. News and current affairs are non-recyclable and of high expense.



 
 

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Science channels are a threat to science journalism

Daniele Jörg   WDR-Fernsehen

This conclusion is the result of nearly a decade of experience as a science journalist in TV, as a sceptical consumer of international science productions and as a regular delegate to the yearly World Congress of Science Producers.

Why Discovery et al. are bad for science journalism - here are some arguments:
• Alibi: The mission of science channels is the exclusive coverage of science and technology topics. In that way they contribute to the ban of science programming to specialty channels e.g. like Arte became the home of sophisticated cultural programming.
• Business: Science channels are commercial and therefore market principles apply - bestsellers are „life greatest mysteries“: dinosaurs, volcanoes, mummies etc.
• Think global: Science channels developed into international enterprises and hence have to suit viewers from Germany to Southeast Asia. The result is a big compromise - „TV unisex“ for all sizes and tastes!
• PR-machine: Science channels are non-political, non-sceptical around the clock PR-machines. Mainly because they cooperate with socalled independent production companies which are far from being „independent“. They rarely attack governments and institutions since they need the contacts for business.
• Human TV: Science channels are looking for the human interest story and unfortunately most scientists are neither protagonist nor antagonist of a good story and in general we don’t fall in love with molecules!
• Recycling: Science channel programmes require a long shelf-life i.e. only several reruns a day - a month  - a year will pay off the production costs. News and current affairs are non-recyclable and of high expense.



 
 

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

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