Israeli Scientists’ Interaction with the Mass Media: An Online Survey

Science communication generally refers to public communication of science-related topics to non-experts. Many times communicating science is not done directly by scientists themselves, but involves mediators, such as the mass media. The relations between science and the media has been described for a long time by metaphors as “distance”, “gap”, “barrier”, and “oil and water”. Until the last five years, little empirical data was available, and this characterization was based mostly on anecdotal stories told by both scientists and journalists.

Our study is a part of an international study aiming to remedy this situation. It was initiated by Prof. Hans Peter Peters from Forschungszentrum Jülich Germany (1). It is an online survey for scientists, which was distributed in many other countries including Germany, France, Great Britain, USA, Japan, China and others (1,2,3,4,5). This study is unique in addressing both scientists’ general attitude toward science communication, and the scientists’ personal experience across different disciplines and national contexts. This type of study was not yet performed in Israel, to the best of our knowledge.

The survey that will be used in Israel will address topics such as frequency of interactions with the media, predictors for this frequency (number of publications, academic status), perceived impact of media contacts on respondents’ career, perceived quality of the interactions with the media, scientists’ concerns and perceived benefits regarding media contacts, general perception of scientific topic coverage by the media, knowledge about the public’s science background and prior knowledge.

Project Members:

Noa Reis, Research Assistant
Noa Reis, Research Assistant
Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Associate Professor
Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Associate Professor

Project conducted in collaboration with Prof. Hans Peter Peters.

Relevant publications:

  1. Hans Peter Peters, Dominique Brossard, Suzanne de Cheveigné, Sharon Dunwoody, Monika Kallfass, Steve Miller & Shoji Tsuchida (2008): Science Communication: Interactions with the mass media. Science, Vol. 321, No. 5886, pp. 204-205.
  2. Hans Peter Peters (2013):Gap between science and media revisited: Scientists as public communicators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, Supplement 3, pp. 14102-14109.
  3. Yin-Yueh Lo & Hans Peter Peters (2013):
    Taiwanese life scientists less “medialized” than their Western colleagues. Public Understanding of Science, published online before print 24 December 2013
  4. Joachim Allgaier, Sharon Dunwoody, Dominique Brossard, Yin-Yueh Lo & Hans Peter Peters (2013):Journalism and social media as means of observing the contexts of science. BioScience, Vol. 63, No. 4, pp. 284-287.
  5. Fujun Ren, Hans Peter Peters, Yin-Yueh Lo, Luisa Massarani, Jie Ren, Huiliang Zhang (2014): Scientists in the public realm: Communication models, social contexts and practices. 13th international public communication of science and technology conference. 5-8 May, Salvador, Brazil