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Engaging the Media and the Public

Although several of the nation’s most widely circulated newspapers have sections specifically devoted to science news, the public is increasingly looking to other sources for scientific information. The Pew Research Center noted that a significant portion of Americans use the Internet as a primary source for science news.

Research Focus

The American Academy will engage a broad group of journalists in an exploration of public and media engagement in science matters. This study will examine the following questions:

  • How changes in media market have impacted the portrayal of science to the public?
  • What mechanisms do emerging media outlets have for obtaining relevant and credible scientific information?
  • How do the accuracy, breadth, depth, and degree of bias of emerging media outlets compare to more traditional media outlets?

The American Academy will convene discussions across the country with its members as well as science journalism and science writing fellows, such as the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT. This activity will engage rising leaders in science journalism in an exploration of the responsibilities of journalists and scientists alike in ensuring the accurate portrayal of science in the media.

Presentation of Findings

Members of The Public Face of Science project will consider ways in which to convey best practices identified for science communication to media outlets as well as the general public. One outcome of this effort will be to share project findings with public relations offices at scientific institutions, to offer advice and context about how best to disseminate scientific discoveries from their respective institutions to their constituents.