Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists generally happy with their media interaction

Scientists and journalists get along much better than the anecdotal ‘horror stories’ would lead us to believe, according to new research published today in the journal Science, which has found that 57% of researchers were ‘mostly pleased’ with their media interaction, while only 6% percent were ‘mostly dissatisfied’.

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.

• 46% of respondents perceived a ‘mostly positive’ impact on their careers from media contact, while 3% reflected a ‘mostly negative’ impact.

"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
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>