9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Reality Constructions in the Public Sphere Building II, C4.07

Cultures in interaction: The circuit of science news from the scientist-journalist 'co-production' to the public

An empirical research on interactions between journalists and scientists explored how the laws and the values that guide and validate these two fields interact in the course of journalistic interviews (Mendonça, 2006). The results suggest that the cultural differences and the potential conflicts between journalists and scientists tend to dilute themselves in the context of the interaction. Journalists and scientists tend to spark off co-operative and convergence strategies (metanorms) during the interview, not only making possible the interaction but also allowing that the final result - the published text - meets the expectations created at the time of their encounter. This research challenges a set of assumptions on relationships such as media-science and journalists-scientists, suggesting that media-science relations might be less noticeable by tension and conflict than the one suggested by literature.

Following this path, this ongoing PhD research aims to deepen those results and observe the attainment of the cooperation, exploring now more a reflexive analyse from journalists and scientists on their recent interactions. Designing the news circuit, this study focused on news production is complemented by a content analysis on the news and a reception study aiming at verifying how the science news make sense(s) to their readers. By this methodological device allowing us to deepen the press journalistic interview (usually marked by the opacity) and to look at the publics (characterized by the diversity) we are watching the interaction and the intentionality of the actors for what news.

This paper presents results of this qualitative study based on interviews of journalists and scientists who interacted in a news item, selected from two Portuguese newspapers. Journalists and scientists made a self reflexive analyse on meanings and senses produced by the "co-produced" science news content. Meanwhile, ten readers with different profiles were invited to reflect on the meanings suggested by the same news.

Our intend is twofold: 1) identify how members of three cultures - journalists, scientists and publics - interact, adapt themselves and, eventually, experience changes in this process; 2) analyse the mobilized resources activated by each actor in all moments of news construction.