The presentation of science in the mass media is crucial for the societal perception of scientists and their work. The mass media allows a large number of citizens to inform themselves about political, economic, and other developments. It contributes significantly to how society forms opinions and, in doing so, has almost monopolized communication about certain issues in current affairs. Mass media has, for example, become an exclusive source of information for many people regarding scientific issues. Accordingly, the relation between science and the mass media has been a major issue in social scientific research in past years.
The aim of this study is to examine and explain the media orientation in various disciplines of climate science. The study provides orientation for climate scientists from the inside: it creates a broad base to engage critically with the status quo in their own ranks and to reflect on their own patterns of media orientation.
The aim of this project is to create a descriptive snapshot of the media orientations of climate scientists and to explain the characteristic of these media orientations.
1. The first step of the project is to describe the extent of media orientation of individual scientists. It is investigated ...
a. how many contacts individual climate scientists have with the media, how they evaluate them and identify what knowledge they have about dealing with the media (experience and knowledge)
b. which motives and goals they combine with the media or if applicable which reservations they have against the media (goals & reservations)
c. which tasks and roles they attribute to scientists and journalists in their mutual relationship (normative orientations), i.e. for which media activities they are ready, if they are willing to adapt to the requirements of media communication and to what extent they would thereby put aside scientific quality criteria (action level).
2. The second step of the project is to explain similarities and differences in the media orientations of individual climate scientists. The following explanatory factors are taken into account in multivariate statistical models:
a. how long the individual scientists are already scientifically active, on what career stage they are and whether they hold leadership positions in their institutions (experience and seniority)
b. how many publications they have and whether they currently or in the past officiated in science, such as professional societies or publisher of journals (intra scientific reputation),
c. whether they officiated outside of science, as in politics, economy, associations, NGOs, etc. (social reputation)
d. what socio-demographic characteristics they have (age, gender, etc., socio-demographics)
A more detailed description of the project can be found here (PDF document in german).