Science communication teaching in Brazil is, despite the small number of courses now available, a rather old phenomenon. The first courses took place in the 1970’s, when the debates about the media coverage of science and technology within the academic community started to improve in number and quality. But many of the experiences in this area remained as an isolated initiative and did not continue after the first or second year on offer. Many are the reasons that explain this situation and couldn’t be thoroughly explained here. But there are also other barriers, due to the definition of science communication itself, that helped create this curious condition.

Some characteristics, derived from the fact that science communication is not a established academic subject, seem to be shared with other countries, like the United States and United Kingdom, where courses in this area have, though, a long history and tradition. “How” to teach science communication, “to whom” and with “what contents” are questions that have not found a single answer.

In Brazil, as science communication teaching becomes a growing area, the number of programs tend to multiply, specially if we consider the creation of some recent governmental supports to improve science communication. But the objectives and structures of these courses are far from being consensual. An effort of analysis and a comparison with foreign experiences is, than, necessary to help establish parameters of evaluation. That is the aim of this paper, which draws a chronology of the courses, discussing their aims and structures, and offer some comparisons with international experiences.

We describe, particularly, the case of   the Graduate Course on Science Journalism. This course is offered by the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). It is run by the Center for Advanced Studies in Journalism (Labjor), the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies (DPCT) and the Department of Multimedia (DMM). It began in 1999 and was conceived for journalists and scientists, emphasizing mutual activities, so as to improve their perception of the different ways of thinking and working and finally to contribute to reduce the gap between them.

The course’s general objectives are vast: to improve journalists knowledge on science and technology and scientists’ potential for a more competent and critical diffusion of science and science policies; to make them understand science’s social role and the science and technology system; to encourage a critical evaluation of national’s science and technology through the media. So, its program reflects this initial project by offering a wide variety of subjects, from history and sociology of science, ethics and linguistics to theory and practice of journalism.

We make an analysis of the experience and evaluate how interaction between scientists and journalists evolved during the development of the program. We show that contact between the two groups is mainly positive, but it does not change the nature of each profession, nor the different perspectives they have about science and society.
 



 


 
 



 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

A science communication programme for researchers and journalists
The experience of Labjor/Unicamp (Brazil).

Mônica Macedo   UNICAMP/UMESP/Université de Poitiers

Science communication teaching in Brazil is, despite the small number of courses now available, a rather old phenomenon. The first courses took place in the 1970’s, when the debates about the media coverage of science and technology within the academic community started to improve in number and quality. But many of the experiences in this area remained as an isolated initiative and did not continue after the first or second year on offer. Many are the reasons that explain this situation and couldn’t be thoroughly explained here. But there are also other barriers, due to the definition of science communication itself, that helped create this curious condition.

Some characteristics, derived from the fact that science communication is not a established academic subject, seem to be shared with other countries, like the United States and United Kingdom, where courses in this area have, though, a long history and tradition. “How” to teach science communication, “to whom” and with “what contents” are questions that have not found a single answer.

In Brazil, as science communication teaching becomes a growing area, the number of programs tend to multiply, specially if we consider the creation of some recent governmental supports to improve science communication. But the objectives and structures of these courses are far from being consensual. An effort of analysis and a comparison with foreign experiences is, than, necessary to help establish parameters of evaluation. That is the aim of this paper, which draws a chronology of the courses, discussing their aims and structures, and offer some comparisons with international experiences.

We describe, particularly, the case of   the Graduate Course on Science Journalism. This course is offered by the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). It is run by the Center for Advanced Studies in Journalism (Labjor), the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies (DPCT) and the Department of Multimedia (DMM). It began in 1999 and was conceived for journalists and scientists, emphasizing mutual activities, so as to improve their perception of the different ways of thinking and working and finally to contribute to reduce the gap between them.

The course’s general objectives are vast: to improve journalists knowledge on science and technology and scientists’ potential for a more competent and critical diffusion of science and science policies; to make them understand science’s social role and the science and technology system; to encourage a critical evaluation of national’s science and technology through the media. So, its program reflects this initial project by offering a wide variety of subjects, from history and sociology of science, ethics and linguistics to theory and practice of journalism.

We make an analysis of the experience and evaluate how interaction between scientists and journalists evolved during the development of the program. We show that contact between the two groups is mainly positive, but it does not change the nature of each profession, nor the different perspectives they have about science and society.
 



 


 
 



 

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