Science and research make for newsworthy topics in the mass media. The stories reported by the media are likely to have an impact on people’s awareness and attitudes. Furthermore, the coverage can potentially influence people’s confidence in research and researchers, as well as their interest in scientific knowledge.

Photo: Researchers’ Grand Prix.

In 2020– 2021, we investigated media reporting and public trust during the COVID-19 pandemic in a study called  Communication about Corona.

In 2019, VA undertook a study together with the popular science magazine Forskning & Framsteg on behalf of The Swedish Research Council. The purpose was to investigate how research and science can be made more accessible in Sweden, both to the general public and to other target groups outside of academia.

The results were presented in the report ‘Research Foresight’ (Forskning.framsyn), which also includes descriptions of around 20 communication initiatives in other European countries. (Read a summary in English)

As part of the Science in Society project, VA published three reports in 2019 related to science coverage in the news media. In Behind the headlines twelve Swedish journalists were interviewed to investigate what influences their reporting of scientific issues. The full report is available in Swedish only. 

The other two reports were content analyses looking at (1) the coverage of science and research in Swedish newspapers, 1995–2015, and (2) opinion pieces signed by researchers in Sweden’s largest newspaper, 1992–2015 (reports available in Swedish only).

In 2014 we conducted a systematic analysis of the major Swedish news media (daily press and television) over the period 2002–2013 to investigate whether media coverage of research misconduct affects public confidence in research and scientists: Misconduct and confidence – a media analysis (summary in English).

In 2005 we conducted telephone interviews with 550 journalists working in different types of media. At the same time we analysed the science-related content in a sample of daily newspapers, youth magazines and family magazines. We also asked 1,854 journalists a number of more in-depth questions on science and researchers. The following reports in English summarise the study and its results:

How Journalists View Science – Summary

How Journalists View Science, 2005 – Presentation

Science in the Press – Summary

On VA Day 2005 the relationships between science and journalism were discussed: Summary of VA Day 2005

At a workshop with journalism students and doctoral candidates in November 2005 the issue of what happens when science and journalists meet was addressed. Summary: What happens in the meeting between scientists and journalists – Workshop report


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