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Weaving stories, explaining science – scientists and journalists on the air (NARRATIVE/ SCIENCE)
Start date: Nov 1, 2013, End date: Oct 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The communication of scientific results in the mainstream media takes place in a highly contested terrain, reflecting conflicting professional norms, cultural values and levels of scientific understanding between scientists and journalists. Yet rather than focusing on this highly documented “science-media” gap we explore the interaction between scientists and journalists and its role in shaping science news. Specifically, this study will focus on the narrative strategies they exploit making abstract and technical issues concrete. Reflecting prevalent explanatory and argumentative norms, the skilful use of narrative elements is widely promoted in explaining science to general audiences. Integrating objective explanations with a plot, a leading character, and dramatic mystery is seen as supporting the communication of scientific discoveries and in exposing the contexts in which these were made. Exploiting recently developed content, discourse and conversation analysis interviews with scientists will be examined for the types of stories narrated, scientists and hosts’ roles in shaping the stories produced and their explanatory and argumentative roles regarding the scientific topic reported. The study will be based on a well-defined corpus of interviews with scientists drawn from key agenda-setting the current affair talk shows broadcasted in Israel and Britain. While news broadcasts serve as a primary source concerning development in science and technology science reporting in these format won little scholarly attention. Seeking to capture the interactional communicative events by which scientists and journalists co-author narratives and explanations should offer novel insights concerning their respective roles in shaping science news more broadly. This study’s focus on scientific explanations in the news media could strongly inform science communication policies and practices currently discussed and implemented.
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