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.

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