899   Individual paper

Science Profile: a refined tool to identify and include science content in journalism

Author: Javier Crúz-Mena
National University of Mexico, Mexico

The climate crisis has brought together ample sectors of civil society the world over to demand that politicians "listen to the science". This battle cry could be carried over to other global crisis: antibiotic resistance, environment migrations, food security, energy transition, etc. For the average citizen, an obvious way to "listen to the science" ought to be through the press. Thus, the science content of the news becomes a relevant topic for research, both globally and locally.

We have developed a tool —the Science Profile— that helps in both academic and journalistic research. The Profile works by identifying any or all of a set of 8 relatively easy to recognise features representing scientific content.

We present here results of the tool applied to study the science content of more than 50 pieces from newscasts of public TV in 4 countires. We have identified some intriguing patterns (a blatant inclination to include magnitudes, an unequal ability to offer emprical evidence and explanations), but our data also suggests that a small increase in time invested per story could yield a disproportional increase in science content, if oriented by the Profile.

Evidence from the use of the Profile as a planning tool by science reporters points towards a transformative new methodology for journalistic research (see Abstract for Demonstration by Gómez-Gurrola & Climent: S is within reach...). This methodology is designed to allow reporters (most with no university-level science background) to efficiently use scientific papers and structure journalistic narratives that put the public in a better position to "listen to the science".

We find it convenient that a single tool can be used in academia and journalism, unchanged. 

What's new: i) a refined tool for detection of science content in published products; ii) an innovative methodology to better include science content in science journalism.

Research or practice: both

Co-author: Itzel Gómez-Gurrola
National University of Mexico, Mexico

Co-author: Claudia Hernández-Garcí­a
National University of Mexico, Mexico

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