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Media and Science Communication

Media and Science Communication

The Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans- Bredow Institute (HBI) is working on the role of science communication within the framework of a project network dealing with the digitisation of science and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with about 1.3 million euros. The sub-project "MeWiKo - Media and Scientific Communication" focuses on how science communication by communication offices and the press influences the reputation of scientific publications. For example, are essays quoted more frequently or do they have better altmetrics when they appear in the daily press? Or does the mention in popular media have a rather negative effect on the influence? Partners in this project are the Science Media Center, the University of Kiel, the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans- Bredow Institute (HBI) and the Institute for Applied Computer Science at the University of Leipzig.
Topics of the network as a whole are in particular networked infrastructures for universities, altmetrics as well as the application of artificial intelligence methods for the analysis of complex publications.

The sub-project located at the HBI will be implemented firstly through ethnographies, i.e. participating observation of the work of a science editorial office and the Science Media Center (SMC). Secondly, a standardised quantitative survey will be conducted among science journalists in Germany. Lastly, the HBI will hold a workshop with science journalists to identify selection processes and critically reflect on them in terms of their own role in the impact of scientific work. These methodological approaches also allow assessments to be made of which factors facilitate the work of science journalists and which information from the scientific community could improve the quality of science journalistic selection processes.

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Project Description

Ethnographic Editorial Studies

HBI investigates the work of science journalism with the help of the method of editorial ethnography ("newsroom ethnography"). The work processes are systematically observed, documented and qualitatively classified over a period of several weeks in a science editorial office and at the Science Media Center (SMC). The observing researchers keep a diary of their observations, which also contains subjective impressions and assessments. The special focus of the observation is on the selection processes of the editors, i.e. which material is classified as relevant to science journalism.

Survey of Science Journalists on Editorial Selection Processes

In addition to the spectrum of channels used for content selection, the focus of the surveys will be on the criteria that explicitly play a role in the selection process and on factors that combine the classic journalistic news value with department-specific requirements.

Workshop with Science Journalists

The Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans- Bredow-Institute conducts a workshop with science journalists and researchers in the field of science communication. The aim of this workshop is, in addition to professional exchange, a dialogue about the mutual expectations of scientists and journalists, and about communicative misunderstandings that sometimes exist between the two sides.

Project Information


Duration: 2018-2021

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Third party

Bundministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Förderlinie „Quantitative Wissenschaftsforschung"

Cooperation Partner

ZBW Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft Kiel (Prof. Dr. Isabella Peters)
Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel (Dr. Athanasios Mazarakis)
Science Media Center Köln (Dr. Meik Bittkowski)
Kompetenzzentrum Digitale Dienstleistungssysteme, Universität Leipzig (Dr. Christian Zinke)

Contact person

PD Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt
Senior Researcher Digital Interactive Media & Political Communication

PD Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17-83
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17-77

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