Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Columbia Journalism Review on hard-to-reach science audiences

Can we reach traditionally underserved audiences with new modes of science outreach?
“Any pop band is doing the same thing,” Jorn H. Hurum, a scientist at the University of Oslo who acquired the fossil and assembled the team of scientists that studied it, told the Times. “Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science.”

"Indeed, the effort is “a publicity tsunami relative to traditional science communication practices,” wrote American University communications professor Matthew Nisbet on his Framing Science blog. It is a strategy that Nisbet and co-author Dietram Scheufele call “going broad” in a paper currently under review. The goal, according to an excerpt of the paper, is to move science communications “beyond elite audiences,” where they usually stop. Nisbet and Scheufele cite a number of Pew Research Center reports showing that the nightly television news, as opposed to newspapers, and outlets such as The Discovery Channel, as opposed to science magazines, are the predominant sources of scientific information for most people."

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