2.3 Analysis of Perspectives of Journalists and Scientists on Climate Change Reports through Experimental Reviews of Student Articles

Monday, 7 January 2013: 2:00 PM
Room 19A (Austin Convention Center)
Yoshie Goto-Maeda, The Univ. of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; and Y. Matsumoto, S. Emori, K. Takahashi, M. Aoyagi-Usui, A. Asakura, and K. Fukushi

Although media coverage is an major and effective way to share scientific results with the public as well as other scientists, being reported as researchers expect does not always happen for climate change studies. In this study, these differences in viewpoints in climate change articles between researchers and journalists were analyzed using their reviews of short newspaper articles written by graduate students of a journalism school. For the journalism students, two mock press conferences on real climate change studies were arranged to write the articles. After the students' writing, reviews of the articles by both the presenting climate scientists and experienced science journalists were shared and discussed with the participating students and those reviewers. The discussion sessions were separately conducted for the students and researchers, for the students and journalists, and for the researchers and journalists to focus on the differences of the two selected groups. According to the comments by the researchers, they tended to value inclusion of all of the main aspects of their studies, while journalists emphasize that one important theme should be focused on in short articles. In general, scientific studies often unintentionally pursue two objectives, methodology and its application. For researchers, inventing a new method is usually much more important than its applied results, but for journalists, the applied results are often much more important than a complicated explanation of the methods. Expressions of uncertainty were also an important issue during the discussions. Although the journalists tend to choose more assertive expressions than the researchers, the opinions among researchers were also various because of the concerns about their results to be perceived as “too certain” or “too uncertain.” Finally, these experiments were originally intended to collect data and comments by those two important categories of professionals for climate science communication, but comments by participants also suggested its educational effects for journalism students as well as scientists to learn about journalistic perspective.
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