Communicating science: The profile of science journalists in Spain

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Comunicar, ISSN: 1134-3478, Vol: 26, Issue: 55, Page: 9-17

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Roger Cassany; Sergi Cortiñas; Albert Elduque
Grupo Comunicar
Social Sciences
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article description
Science journalists are mainly responsible for publicly communicating science, which, in turn, is a major indicator of the social development of democratic societies. The transmission of quality scientific information that is rigorously researched and understandable is therefore crucial, and demand for this kind of information from both governments and citizens is growing. We analyzed the academic profiles of a representative sample of practicing science journalists in Spain to clarify what training they had received and how they perceived the quality and scope of this training. Using an ethnographic methodology based on a survey, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with science journalists working for the main Spanish media (mainly printed press, audiovisual, Internet and news agencies), we analyze their academic backgrounds and collect information on their opinions and proposals. Our findings depict a complex and heterogeneous scenario and also reveal that most science journalists not only do not have any scientific training, but also do not even consider this to be necessary to exercise as science reporters. They also criticize the current system for training journalists and consider that the best way of learning the profession is by acquiring experience on the job.