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ERIC Number: ED246448
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Who Are the Media Spokespersons for Science?
Dunwoody, Sharon; Ryan, Michael
Data collected in a 1981 national survey of physical/biological and social/behavioral scientists were used to investigate three research questions: (1) How often are scientists who encounter journalists called upon to discuss topics tangential or unrelated to their research? (2) Will the amount of contact with journalists be related to the number of years in research, research productivity, or type of field? and (3) Will the amount of contact scientists have with the media be related to their attitudes toward popularization of science news or to the number of media contacts initiated by the scientists themselves? Findings showed that of the 153 scientists who reported interacting with journalists, 39% said that all of their interviews dealt only with their own research, but 61% indicated that at least a portion of their interviews with journalists dealt with topics other than their own research. Scientists called upon to discuss non-research topics are somewhat less productive than scientists who are asked to discuss only their research. As their level of "spokesperson" activity increased, so did their feelings that the scientific community rewarded scientists for engaging in the popularization of science. Furthermore, scientists who served as "spokespersons" with some frequency were more likely to initiate contacts with journalists than scientists who do not serve as spokespersons. Finally, social/behavioral scientists were called upon as spokespersons more often than physical/biological scientists. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Journalism Research; Journalists
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (67th, Gainesville, FL, August 5-8, 1984).