Some Context to the Scientist-Journalist Debate

I'm obviously a bit late in commenting on the scientist-journalist debate that went on through last week, so I'm not going to weigh in at this point. (Round up of posts. The entry that started it all.)

But for the motivated reader, below the fold are listed several studies and book chapters that I assign in my course on Science, Media, and the Public or that I recommend to graduate students doing research on the topic. All of the sources are available at your university library and provide useful context for understanding the interactions between scientists and journalists.

Moreover, at this year's AAAS conference, several colleagues participated in a panel devoted to cross-national research on the topic. I recommend contacting the panelists about copies of any forthcoming studies from this ongoing work.



Dearing, J. (1995). Newspaper coverage of maverick science: Creating controversy through balancing. Public Understanding of Science, 4, 341-361.

Dunwoody, S. (1980). The Science Writing Inner Club: A Communication Link Between Science and the Lay Public. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 30, 14-22.

Friedman, S., Dunwoody, S. & Rogers, C. (1986). Scientists and journalists: Reporting science as news. Washington, D.C.: Washington, D.C.

Hartz, J., and Chappell, R. (1997). Worlds apart: How the distance between science and journalism threatens America's future. Nashville, TN: First Amendment Center.

Hilgartner, S. (1990). The dominant view of popularization: Conceptual problems, political uses. Social Studies of Science, 20, 519-539.

Lewenstein, B.V. (1995/2002). Science and the media. In S. Jasanoff (Ed.), The handbook of science and technology studies (pp. 343-360). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Nelkin, D. (1995). Selling science: How the press covers science and technology. New York: W.H. Freeman.

Nisbet, M.C. & Huge, M (2006). Attention cycles and frames in the plant biotechnology debate: Managing power and participation through the press/policy connection. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 11, 2, 3-40.

Peters, H.P. (1995). The interaction of journalists and scientific experts: Co-operation and conflict between two professional cultures. Media, Society, & Culture, 17, 31-48.

Zehr, Stocking, & Dunwoody (1999). Communicating Uncertainty: Media Coverage of New and Controversial Science. Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum. (See chapters 1-3).

This research specific to scientist-journalist interactions draws heavily on the work examining the relationships between reporters and sources generally. For overviews, I recommend:

Donsbach, W. (2004). Psychology of news decisions: Factors behind journalists' professional behavior. Journalism, 5, 131-157.

Nisbet, M.C. (in press). Agenda-building. In W. Donsbach (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Communication. New York: Blackwell. (Contact me for a copy.)

Shoemaker, P.J. & Reese, S.D. (1996). Mediating the message: Theories of influence on mass media content. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Climate change is no longer a financial problem, just a political one.
  • Mitigating climate change by decarbonizing our economy would add trillions of dollars in new investments.
  • Public attitudes toward climate change have shifted steadily in favor of action. Now it's up to elected leaders.


Following sex, some men have unexpected feelings – study

A new study shows that some men's reaction to sex is not what you'd expect, resulting in a condition previously observed in women.

Credit: Pixabay
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study shows men's feelings after sex can be complex.
  • Some men reportedly get sad and upset.
  • The condition affected 41% of men in the study
Keep reading Show less

Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
Keep reading Show less