Media and Science Communication

Media and Science Communication

What influence does external science communication, in other words the dissemination of scientific content via journalistic media and social media, have on the impact of publications and how do editorial selection processes contribute to this? The collaborative project “MeWiKo”, funded by the BMBF, records systematically the role and activities of actors in external science communication as well as the citation mechanisms in scientific communication and classifies them. Furthermore, it creates transparency about these processes that shape the scientific system.

The sub-project of the network located at the Hans-Bredow-Institut focuses on the editorial selection practices and relevance assessment of science journalists. Using editorial ethnography and a survey of science journalists in Germany, the aim is to identify relevant department-specific news factors and to collect further information in order to model the influence of external science communication on the impact of scientific work.

The project will be carried out through an ethnography of the work of editors in the Science Media Center (SMC), on the one hand, and through a standardised quantitative survey of science journalists in Germany, on the other hand. For the recruitment of participants, a cooperation with a professional journalist association, such as the German Science Journalists’ Association, is sought. The Hans-Bredow-Institut observes the work of the editorial staff for one week and examines selection practices and relevance assessments in day-to-day business by means of participatory observation. Furthermore, a workshop will be held with science journalists. In this workshop, they will identify their selection processes and critically reflect on them with regard to their own role in the impact of scientific work. These methodological approaches also allow assessments to be made concerning the factors which facilitate/complicate the work of science journalists and what information on the part of science could improve the quality of selection processes in science journalism.
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Project Description

Ethnography of the Work of Editors in the Science Media Center (SMC)

Das Hans-Bredow-Institut examines the work at the SMC using the method of "newsroom ethnography". For this purpose, the work processes of editors at the SMC are systematically observed, documented and qualitatively classified over a period of several weeks. The observing researchers keep a diary of their observations, which also includes subjective impressions and assessments. The special focus of the observation is on the selection processes of the editors, meaning which material is considered relevant for 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 play an explicit role in the selection process and on the factors combine the classic journalistic news value with resort-specific requirements.

Workshop with Science Journalists

Das Hans-Bredow-Institut organises a workshop with science journalists and researchers in the field of science communication. In addition to the professional exchange, the aim of this workshop is a dialogue on the mutual expectations of scientists and journalists, and on 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

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

Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt

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

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




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