Congratulations to Professor Slater and his students, Emily Scholfield ’22 and Conor Moore ’21 on their recent publication in Frontiers in Communication, “Reporting on Science as an Ongoing Process (or Not)”. The paper is published open access; you can read it here.
Here’s the abstract:
Efforts to cultivate scientific literacy in the public are often aimed at enabling people to make more informed decisions — both in their own lives (e.g., personal health, sustainable practices, &c.) and in the public sphere. Implicit in such efforts is the cultivation of some measure of trust of science. To what extent does science reporting in mainstream newspapers contribute to these goals? Is what is reported likely to improve the public’s understanding of science as a process for generating reliable knowledge? What are its likely effects on public trust of science? In this paper, we describe a content analysis of 163 instances of science reporting in three prominent newspapers from three years in the last decade. The dominant focus, we found, was on particular outcomes of cutting-edge science; it was comparatively rare for articles to attend to the methodology or the social–institutional processes by which particular results come about. At best, we argue that this represents a missed opportunity.
The paper is part of Professor Slater’s ongoing Production of Public Understanding of Science (PoPUS) project, more work from which you can read here.
Emily and Conor have also recently been profiled by the Bucknell communications team; check out their stories!