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In search of models: An investigation into the practical use of models of science communication in science journalism production

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In search of models: An investigation into the practical use of models of science communication in science journalism production

Amend, Elyse (2011) In search of models: An investigation into the practical use of models of science communication in science journalism production. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the practical use of science communication models in science journalism production. While research has reiterated critiques of science journalism’s quality, theoretically-supported solutions have yet to be suggested. The results of this project seek to address this gap and inform the development of clear criteria against which the quality of science journalism can be tested. Existing literature has examined various models of science communication, but has largely been limited to theoretical discussions. This thesis developed and tested criteria for the applied use of theoretical models of science communication, essentially asking how these models could be put to practice. Using a grounded theory approach, this project was undertaken in four phases: 1) story-writing guidelines based on four models of science communication were developed; 2) science journalists were recruited to write “test stories” based on the four models; 3) journalists were interviewed on their interpretations and applications of the guidelines; 4) focus groups were held to gauge reader response to the “test stories.” This approach generated four major findings: 1) model-based story guidelines can be put to practice; 2) participating science journalists largely maintained usual practices despite some guidelines calling for non-traditional story-writing methods; 3) audience members gravitated toward non-traditional approaches; and 4) science journalists’ perceptions of their imagined audiences require increased clarification. These results were synthesized to propose a preliminary theoretical framework for a hybrid model of science journalism that is audience-centred and responds to critiques by promoting engagement through appealing to actions.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Journalism
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Amend, Elyse
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Journalism Studies
Date:17 August 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Secko, David
ID Code:35782
Deposited By:ELYSE AMEND
Deposited On:21 Nov 2011 09:40
Last Modified:21 Nov 2011 09:40
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