Scientists and the Press

Arthur Secret secret at www5.cern.ch
Mon Oct 24 07:41:38 EST 1994



                   ***************************
                   *  SCIENCE AND THE MEDIA  *
                   ***************************


On 26 November at the end of the second European Week for Scientific 
Culture, journalists and researchers will meet at CERN to discuss 
the coverage of science in the Media. This conference will be 
addressed by top editors, journalists, scientists and politicians.

To avoid polite but fruitless theorizing, we would like to have the 
points of view of as many scientists as possible. Can you help us by
answering some questions?
Your first reaction being the most valuable, use Dylan's constant 
(Don't think twice, it's all right). If you have colleagues with 
strong feelings on the subject, kindly forward them the 
questionnaire, to be e-mailed back by November 10 to 
Science.Press at cern.ch .

For more info contact Neil_Calder at macmail.cern.ch

To answer, just write an X before your choice (multiple answers
allowed); on open questions, start writing on the line of the open 
selection. Then, send back the edited text to Science.Press at cern.ch .

Example:
 X   1a Europe

    2i others (which) my pet



1. NATIONALITY

  1A. WHICH CONTINENT ARE YOU WORKING IN?

    1a Europe
    1b America
    1c Asia
    1d Australasia

  1B.  WHAT IS YOUR NATIONALITY?


2. YOUR SOURCES OF GENERAL INFORMATION

    2a TV
    2b radio
    2c daily newspaper
    2d weekly magazines
    2e monthly magazines
    2f books
    2g cyberspace (which network)
    2h family, friends, colleagues
    2i others (which)


3. THE PRESS, WHAT FOR?

    3a cartoons
    3b weather forecast
    3c politics
    3d international news
    3e tv programmes
    3f science reports 
    3g stock exchange
    3h serial murders
    3i sports page
    3j others (which)


4. YOU FIND MOST RELIABLE

    4a local news
    4b world news
    4c politics
    4d economics
    4e sports
    4f science
    4g horoscope
    4h others (which)


5. YOUR OPINION ON SCIENCE REPORTS IN THE MEDIA

  5A. MOST SATISFYING FACTORS

    5Aa knowledge of the specific field of research
    5Ab good historical background
    5Ac clear explanation of relevance
    5Ad appropriate though simple language
    5Ae illuminating metaphors
    5Af your own name quoted
    5Ag others (which)

  5B. WHEN SATISFIED

    5Ba you tell the journalist or editor you appreciated
    5Bb you recommend the journalist to your colleagues
    5Bc do nothing
    5Bd others (which)

  5C. MOST IRRITATING FACTORS

    5Ca ignorance
    5Cb copycat
    5Cc unreliable sources
    5Cd hype
    5Ce misleading language
    5Cf misprints
    5Cg your name quoted
    5Ch others (which)

  5D. WHEN IRRITATED

    5Da you write to the journalist or editor correcting the facts
    5Db you organize a boycott of the paper or tv or radio broadcast
    5Dc you keep cool since you expected it anyway and do nothing
    5Dd others (which)


6. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

  6A HAVE YOU HAD PERSONAL CONTACT WITH THE SCIENTIFIC PRESS?

    6Aa Yes
    6Ab No

  6B. WHY HAVE YOU BEEN IN CONTACT WITH SCIENCE JOURNALISTS?

    6Ba actually, you are quite a science journalist yourself
    6Bb for an interview on your own work
    6Bc a judgement on a colleague's work
    6Bd general information on your field of research
    6Be confirmation of discoveries (Higgs boson, Bad breath vaccine,
        and such)
    6Bf appreciation of a fashionable theory (SUSY & sparticles, 
        Anthropic Principle, Darwinian A-Life, Chaotic 
        chromodynamics, and such)
    6Bg prophecies on Nobel prize laureates
    6Bh others (which)

  6C. WERE THE RESULTS SATISFYING?

    6Ca yes
    6Cb no

  6D. DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE PROCESS?

    6Da yes
    6Db no


7. THE MEDIA MIRROR

  7A. IN THE MEDIA SCIENTISTS ARE MOSTLY DESCRIBED AS 

    7Aa performing miracles
    7Ab promising but not delivering miracles
    7Ac practical problem solvers
    7Ad arcane problem solvers
    7Ae squandering public money for their toys
    7Af unworldly beings working for the common good
    7Ag ignorant of public needs (Ivory tower syndrome)
    7Ah devising means of destruction for the military
    7Ai devising means of enrichment for private -their own-  
        business
    7Aj suffering from an overcompetitive environment (Publish or 
        perish syndrome)
    7Ak others (which)

  7B. ACCORDING TO YOU, JOURNALISTS PRIVATELY DESCRIBE SCIENTISTS AS

    7Ba informative
    7Bb straightforward
    7Bc concerned
    7Bd jargon-prone
    7Be arrogant
    7Bf power-hungry
    7Bg living on a different planet
    7Bh others (which)


8. WHO NEEDS WHOM

  8A. WHY SHOULD RESEARCHERS TALK TO THE MEDIA?

    8Aa good for their career
    8Ab to share the enjoyment and pains of research
    8Ac to attract brilliant young minds
    8Ad to increase public  private funding for their labs
    8Ae to spread ideas and methods that are good for society at 
        large
    8Af to dispel unreasonable fears  expectations
    8Ag because they receive taxpayers money and are accountable for
        it
    8Ah because their work brings changes and society should be 
        forewarned
    8Ai others (which)
    8Aj they shouldn't

  8B. WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING (NON) EVENT WAS MOST HARMFUL FOR THE 
      SCIENTIST'S PUBLIC IMAGE?

    8Ba cold fusion
    8Bb no-forthcoming AIDS therapy
    8Bc uncontrolled dissemination of uranium
    8Bd bio-engineered human genes (Leyden University calves)
    8Be Chernobyl
    8Bf others (which)

9. LEARNING NEW TRICKS

  9A. AT YOUR WORKPLACE, ARE THERE GUIDELINES ON HOW TO MEET THE 
      MEDIA?

    9Aa yes
    9Ab no

  9B. IF NOT, SHOULD THERE BE?

    9Ba yes
    9Bb no

  9C. CAN SCIENCE REPORTING BE TAUGHT?

    9Ca by journalists
    9Cb by scientists
    9Cc by communication experts
    9Cd by no one

  9D. CAN TALKING TO THE MEDIA BE TAUGHT?

    9Da by journalists
    9Db by scientists
    9Dc by communication experts
    9Dd by no one


10. WIN A FREE RIDE

  10A. SUPPOSE AN EDITOR INVITED YOU TO SPEND SOME TIME AT HIS 
       NEWSPAPER, WOULD YOU ACCEPT?

    10Aa yes
    10Ab no

  10B. WHICH NEWSPAPER WOULD BE YOUR FIRST CHOICE?


11. HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE EUROPEAN WEEK OF SCIENCE CULTURE?

    11a yes
    11b no



THANK YOU!


Results will be published on the World-Wide Web, at 
http://info.cern.ch/SciencePress.html , the 26th of November. 
To get them by mail, just send by that time an email to 
listserv at info.cern.ch with the body
SEND http://info.cern.ch/SciencePress.html




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