The Relationship between Science, the Public and the Media
Background and aims
Media reporting of research developments or findings that are of great public – and potentially political and/or economic – interest is influenced by specific factors such as competition for attention and the economic significance thereof (i.e. “newsworthiness”) which cause the media to simplify and over-dramatise the information. At the same time, the scientific community is increasingly employing strategic communication to gain legitimacy in the form of public approval. This creates resonance effects that may inappropriately intensify or dilute the information content in certain cases. These resonance effects may provoke reactions among the public (in the broad sense, i.e. including civil society, churches, associations, non-governmental organisations, etc.), policymakers and industry that in the eyes of the scientific community seem out of proportion to the information communicated. In other words, communication between science and the media is far from straightforward.
Neither side should be blamed for this situation – the difficulties arise from the structural conditions under which this communication takes place.
The project group has two goals. Firstly, it wants to help people gain an understanding of the unavoidable structural barriers and the resulting communication problems. And secondly, it wishes to explore the use of quality management strategies to improve communication standards. Where relevant, it will also formulate best practice guidelines on communication for scientists and the media.
Project group members
- Heidi Blattmann
- Prof. Dr. Gerd Gigerenzer
Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
- Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Dr. h. c. Reinhard F. Hüttl
Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
- Prof. Dr. Otfried Jarren
- Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Alfred Pühler
- Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Dr. h.c. Prof. E. h. Ortwin Renn
- Ulrich Schnabel
- Prof. Dr. phil. Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer
Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften
- Prof. em. Dr. Peter Weingart
- Prof. Dipl.-Chem. Holger Wormer
Technische Universität Dortmund