Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 205–214 | Cite as

Teaching Journalistic Texts in Science Classes: the Importance of Media Literacy

  • Avshalom Ginosar
  • Tali TalEmail author


This study employs a single framework for investigating both environmental journalistic texts published on news websites, and science teachers’ choices of such texts for their teaching. We analyzed 188 environmental items published during 2 months in seven news websites to determine popularity of topics. Then, 64 science junior high school teachers responded to a closed questionnaire to identify their preferred topics for using in the classroom and patterns of using environmental news items. In a second, open-ended questionnaire, responded by 50 teachers, we investigated the teachers’ media literacy in terms of identifying text types and writers of environmental news items. Good alignment was found between the published topics on the websites and teachers’ choices, with somewhat different distribution of topics, which could be explained by curriculum requirements. Teachers’ identification of text types and writer types was inaccurate, which implied that their media literacy is inadequate. We argue that media literacy is required for effective use of journalistic texts in science teaching.


Media literacy Socio-scientific issues News websites Science journalism Science teachers 


  1. Aikenhead, G. S. (2005). Science education for everyday life: Evidence-based practice. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  2. Badenschier, F. & Wormer, H. (2012). Issue selection in science journalism: towards a special theory of news values for science news? In Rödder, S., Franze, M., & Weingart, P. (eds). The sciences' media connection – Public communication & its repercussions (pp. 59–85). Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook 28 Netherland: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.Google Scholar
  3. Baram-Tsabari, A., & Osborne, J. (2015). Editorial: bridging science education & science communication research. J Res Sci Teach, 52(2), 135–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Botkin, D.B., Keller, E.A., & Rosenthal, D.B. (2012) Environmental science: Earth as a living planet, 8th edition, Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Brossard, D. (2013). New media landscapes and the science information consumer. PNAS, 110(3),
  6. Brunfiel, B. (2009). Supplanting the old media? Nature, 458, 274–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bubela, T., Nisbet, M. C., Borchelt, R., Brunger, F., Critchley, C., Einsiedel, E., et al. (2009). Science communication reconsidered. Nat Biotechnol, 27(6), 514–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bybee, R. Y. (1993). Reforming science education, social perspectives & personal reflections. New York: Teachers College.Google Scholar
  9. DeBoer, G. E. (2000). Science literacy: another look at its historical & contemporary meanings & its relationship to science education reform. J Res Sci Teach, 37, 582–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dimopoulos, K., & Koulaidis, V. (2003). Science and technology education for citizenship: the potential role of the press. Sci Educ, 87(2), 241–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fahy, D., & Nisbet, M. C. (2011). The science journalist online: shifting roles & emerging practices. Journalism, 12(7), 778–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feinstein, N. W. (2015). Communication & science in the public sphere. J Res Sci Teach, 52(2), 145–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feinstein, N. W., Allen, S., & Jenkins, E. (2013). Outside the pipeline: reimagining science education for nonscientists. Science, 340(6130), 314–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hobbs, R. (2011) Digital and media literacy: connecting culture & classroom. Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hobbs, R., & Jensen, A. (2013). The past, present, and future of media literacy Education. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 1(1), 1–11. Retrieved from Scholar
  16. Hodson, D. (1998). Teaching & learning science: towards a personalized approach. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hodson, D. (2003). Time for action: science education for an alternative future. Int J Sci Educ, 25(6), 5–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hodson, D. (2013). Don’t be nervous, don’t be flustered, don’t be scared. Be prepared. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics & Technology Education, 13, 313–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jarman, R., & McClune, B. (2002). A survey of the use of newspapers in science instruction by secondary teachers in Northern Ireland. Int J Sci Educ, 24(10), 997–1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klosterman, M. L., Sadler, T. D., & Brown, J. (2012). Science teachers’ use of mass media to address socio-scientific & sustainability issues. Res Sci Educ, 42(1), 51–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kolstø, S. D. (2001). Scientific literacy for citizenship: tools for dealing with the science dimension of controversial socioscientific issues. Sci Educ, 85(3), 291–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2007). The elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect. New York: Three Rivers Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lewenstein, B. V. (2015). Identifying what matters: science education, science communication, & democracy. J Res Sci Teach, 52(2), 253–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McClune, B., & Jarman, R. (2010). Critical reading of science-based news reports: establishing a knowledge, skills and attitudes framework. International Journal of Science Education, 32(6), 727–752.Google Scholar
  25. McCombs, M., & Shaw, D. (1972). The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36, 176–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McCombs, M., & Shaw, D. (1993). The evolution of agenda-setting research: twenty-five years in the marketplace of ideas. Journal of Communication, 43(2), 58–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Meyer, M. (2010). The rise of the knowledge broke. Science Communication, 32(1), 118–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ratcliffe, M., & Grace, M. (2003). Science education for citizenship: T=teaching socio-scientific issues. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Rennie, L. J. (2014). Teaching science outside of school (pp. 120–144). In N. G. Lederman & S. K. Abell (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Rensberger, B. (2009). Science journalism: too close for comfort. Nature, 459, 1055–1056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roberts, D. A., & Bybee, R. W. (2014). Scientific literacy, science literacy, & science education (pp. 545–558). In N. Lederman & S. K. Abell (Eds.), H&book of research on science education (Vol. II). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Sadler, T. D. (2009). Situated learning in science education: socio‐scientific issues as contexts for practice. Studies in Science Education, 45(1), 1–42.Google Scholar
  33. Sadler, T. D. (2011). Situating socio-scientific issues in classrooms as a means of achieving the goals of science education. In T. D. Sadler (Ed.), Socio-scientific issues in the classroom. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Secko, D. M., Amend, E., & Friday, T. (2013). Four models of science journalism: a synthesis & practical assessment. Journal Pract, 7(1), 62–80.Google Scholar
  35. Shoemaker, P. J. (1991). Gatekeeping. Thous & Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Simonneaux, L. (2013). Questions socialement vives & socio-scientific issues: new trends of research to meet the training needs of postmodern society (pp. 37-54). In C. Bruguière, A. Tiberghien, & P. Clément (Eds.), Topics & trends in current science education. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  37. Solomon, J., & Thomas, J. (1999). Science education for the public understanding of science. Stud Sci Educ, 33, 61–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tal, T., & Kedmi, Y. (2006). Teaching socioscientific issues: classroom culture and students’ performances. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 1, 615–644.Google Scholar
  39. Tal, T., Kali, Y., Magid, S., & Madhok, J. J. (2011). Enhancing the authenticity of a Web-based module for teaching simple inheritance. In T. D. Sadler (Ed.), Socio-scientific issues in the classroom (pp. 11–38). Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  40. Trench, B. (2007). How the Internet changed science journalism (pp. 133–141). In M. Bauer & M. Bucchi (Eds.), Journalism, Science & Society: Science communication: Between News & Public Relations. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Wellington, J. (1991). Newspaper science, school science: friends or enemies? Int J Sci Educ, 13(4), 363–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. White, D. M. (1950). The “gate keeper”: a case study in the selection of news. Journal Q, 27, 383–390.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Academic College of Yezreel ValleyEmek YezreelIsrael
  2. 2.Technion, Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations