ARTICLE: Science journalists call nano-tech uncertain

Most science journalists depict nano scale technology (NST) as uncertain in nature. A smaller fraction uses the on-the-other-hand or the downright optimistic approach. The results come from Lars Guenther, Klara Froehlich and Georg Ruhrmann, all of Friedrich Schiller University Jena. They interviewed some 20-odd German science journalists over the reasons behind their reporting styles.

The authors aim was to try and field the reasonable action approach in the study of journalists’ coverage style decision. They discovered, that differing coverage styles are the results of differing views of science journalism’s role in society. The majority thought scientific news should be relayed to the public in all their uncertainty to foster public discussion, part of the interviewees felt that the news should try to put the public at ease and, by omitting some caveats, encourage the acception of NST.

The results were published in an online-first article of the journal Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. The article can be accessed here (abstract public).


Edited on 21.1.2015: Headline was changed to a shorter one, the original having been “Science journalists report nano-tech as uncertain”.
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