Previous research as well as anecdotal evidence has tended to focus on the negative aspects of scientists’ media interaction, but today’s survey, based on the responses of 1354 scientists working in the high-profile research fields of epidemiology and stem cell research in the UK, US, France, Germany and Japan, suggests that, for the most part, scientists are comfortable dealing with journalists.
The international team who produced the study asked the scientists how much they had to do with the media, and to evaluate their interactions with them, including whether they were ‘misquoted’ by ‘biased’ journalists, or whether they were able to ‘get their message out’.
Across the countries under study, scientist-journalist interactions were found not to be the province of a small set of scientific ‘media stars’ but an activity broadly rooted in the scientific community; nearly two thirds of the respondents had been interviewed by journalists at least once in the last three years, while nearly one in three reported more than five media contacts over the same period.
Key findings of the survey included:
• Increasing the public’s perception of science was the most important benefit mentioned by scientists as an incentive to interact with the media, with 93% indicating that achieving ‘a more positive public attitude towards research’ was an important motivator;
• However, lack of control of media outcomes remains an issue for many scientists, with nine in 10 respondents identifying the ‘risk of incorrect quotation’ as an important disincentive.
"Previous studies of the science-media interface mostly focused on the question why this relationship of scientists and journalists is so difficult. Our results now say you should turn the question around,” says Professor Hans Peter Peters, of the Forschungszentrum Jülich near Cologne, who led the study.
“We need to ask why the relationship is so smooth, given the well-known differences in the professional cultures of science and journalism, possible conflicts of interest, and the meaning changes that take place when scientific messages enter the mass media."
Professor Steve Miller, UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies, a team member on the study, says: “As well as working on science communication, I also go to scientific research conferences. And I have often heard researchers tell stories of someone they know having a bad time with the media. So I was really surprised when our survey showed that, actually, biomedical researchers on the front line of public interest were largely pleased with their own interactions with journalists and broadcasters. It just goes to show, you should not believe the horror stories; journalists don’t routinely eat scientists for breakfast.”
Dominique Fourniol | alfa
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences