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New Intermediaries in Science Communication

New Intermediaries in Science Communication

This PhD project looks at changing actor constellations and gatekeeping practices in science communication. Special focus lies on the Science Media Center Germany: a new organisation that functions as an intermediary between science and journalism.

In a rapidly developing media environment, both science and journalism seem to be losing their standing as unchallenged purveyors of knowledge and truth (buzzwords: “post-truth age”, “fact-free society”). A set of qualitative and quantitative empirical components explore how media trends and the arrival of new intermediary organisations affect the interrelation of key actors and their gatekeeping practices in science communication.

Using participatory observation, several newsroom ethnographies will be carried out among the editors of the Science Media Center Germany, the science journalists of a news medium, and the PR department of an academic journal. An online survey among science journalists in Germany will provide quantitative data on occasions, sources and selection criteria for journalistic coverage of scientific topics.
In June 2021, Irene Broer and co-author Louisa Pröschel published a working paper with the findings of several months of field research at the Science Media Center Germany. It has been published as No. 57 in the series "Working Papers of the Hans-Bredow-Institut" and is available for download. In episode 65 of the BredowCast, the authors talk about the findings in detail.

In a special issue of the Journal of Science Communication that dealt exclusively with communication in connection with COVID-19, Irene Broer also wrote about the inter-editorial response of the Science Media Center Germany (SMC) to the outbreak of the pandemic.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash
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Project Description

Further information coming soon.

Project Information


Duration: 2018-2021

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Involved persons

Dr. Irene Broer

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Dr. Irene Broer
Postdoc Researcher Science Communication & Societal Cohesion

Dr. Irene Broer

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