Advertisement

Implications of Media-Scientists’ Relationship on Crop Biotechnology Debate in Uganda

  • Ivan Nathanael Lukanda
Chapter
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)

Abstract

Individuals often turn to the media for information about science and to track developments in their chosen fields of science, including medicine, climate change, biotechnology, and ecosystems resilience. Thus, media are key gateways to belief and doubt in knowledge, including science. Indeed, media houses have noted this trend and indexed it by establishing pages in their print versions, airtime on their electronic platforms, publishing science articles online, and sharing relevant information on social media. In order to achieve the desired visibility, science institutions have reciprocated by adopting and adapting training for scientists in public relations and providing guidelines for their researchers interested in going public or facing the media. Yet, findings from interviews with four scientists and ten science journalists show that there is still friction between journalists and scientists in what should have been a mutual relationship in sharing information about ecosystems risk science, especially in the crop biotechnology debate, with the non-expert society in Uganda. The implication of media playing the dual roles of being watchdogs and supporting scientific developments is that the awareness created through the various platforms greases and sustains the debate on issues of GMOs, in a way similar to the debate on climate change and ecosystems resilience.

Keywords

Media for information about science Ecosystems resilience Science journalists Scientific developments Scientists in public relations 

References

  1. Altheide DL, Snow RP (1979) Media logic. Sage, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashwell DJ (2014) The challenges of science journalism: the perspectives of scientists, science communication advisors and journalists from New Zealand. Public Underst Sci 25(3):379–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Basu S, Leeuwis C (2012) Understanding the rapid spread of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Andhra Pradesh: exploring the building of support networks and media representation. Agric Syst 111:34–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauer MW, Gaskell G (2002) In: Bauer MW, Gaskell G (eds) Biotechnology: the making of a global controversy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell E (2016) Facebook is eating the world. Columbia Journal Rev:1–7Google Scholar
  6. Berglez P (2011) Inside, outside, and beyond media logic: journalistic creativity in climate reporting. Media Cult Soc 33(3):449–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berglez P, Nassanga GL (2015) What is the difference between cross-national comparisons and semicomparative work? Example of Swedish-Ugandan climate change communication Research. J Dev Commun Stud 4(1):33–48Google Scholar
  8. Besley JC, Dudo AD, Yuan S, AbiGhannam N (2016) Qualitative interviews with science communication trainers about communication objectives and goals. Sci Commun 38(3):356–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bhatta A, Misra KD (2016) Biotechnology communication needs a rethink. Curr Sci 110(4):573–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boykoff MT, Boykoff JM (2004) Balance as bias: global warming and the US Prestige Press. Glob Environ Chang 14(2):125–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brants K, Van Praag P (2017) Beyond media logic. In: Journalism studies. Routledge, pp 1–14. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1461670X.2015.1065200?needAccess=true
  12. Broom GM, Dozier DM (1986) Advancement for public relations role models. Public Relat Rev 12(1):37–56Google Scholar
  13. Bucchi M (2004) Science in society: an introduction to social studies of science, 5th edn. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bucchi M (2016) Science communication and science in society: a conceptual review in ten keywords. Ital J Sci Technol Stud 7(2):151–168Google Scholar
  15. Bucchi M, Trench B (eds) (2014) Routledge handbook of public communication of science and technology, 2nd edn. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Bucher T, Helmond A (2017) The affordances of social media platforms. In: Burgess J, Poell T, Marwick A (eds) The Sage handbook of social media. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Caple H, Bednarek M (2013) Delving into the discourse: approaches to news values in journalism studies and beyond. The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  18. Carver RB (2014) Public communication from research institutes: is it science communication or public relations? J Sci Commun 13(3):1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ceccoli S, Hixon W (2012) Explaining attitudes toward genetically modified foods in the European Union. Int Polit Sci Rev 33(3):301–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chen SY, Chu YR, Lin CY, Chiang TY (2016) Students’ knowledge of, and attitudes towards biotechnology revisited, 1995–2014: changes in agriculture biotechnology but not in medical biotechnology. Biochem Mol Biol Educ 44(5):475–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Claassen G (2011) Science and the media in South Africa: reflecting a “dirty mirror”. Communicatio 37(3):351–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davies N (2009) Flat earth news. Vintage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. De Beer AS, Malila V, Beckett S, Wasserman H (2016) Binary opposites – can South African journalists be both watchdogs and developmental journalists? J Afr Media Stud 8(1):35–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dudo A, Brossard D, Shanahan J, Scheufele DA, Morgan M, Signorielli N (2011) Science on television in the 21st century. Commun Res 38(6):754–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Duesberg P, Rasnick D (1998) The AIDS dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus. Genetica 104(2):85–132Google Scholar
  26. Dunwoody S (2008a) Science journalism. In: Bucchi M, Trench B (eds) Handbook of public communication of science and technology. Routledge, London, pp 15–26Google Scholar
  27. Dunwoody S (2008b) Scientists, journalists and the meaning of uncertainty. In: Friedman S, Dunwoody S, Rogers C (eds) Communicating uncertainty: media coverage of new and controversial science. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, London, pp 59–80Google Scholar
  28. Dunwoody S, Kohl PA (2017) Using weight-of-experts messaging to communicate accurately about contested science. Sci Commun 39(3):338–357Google Scholar
  29. Einsiedel E, Thorne B (2008) Public responses to uncertainty. In: Friedman S, Dunwoody S, Rogers C (eds) Communicating uncertainty: media coverage of new and controversial science. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, London, pp 43–58Google Scholar
  30. Entman R (1993) Framing: toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. J Commun 43(4):51–58Google Scholar
  31. Eveland WP, Cooper KE (2013) An integrated model of communication influence on beliefs. Proc Natl Acad Sci 110(Suppl. 3):14088–14095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fairclough N (2008) The language of critical discourse analysis: reply to Micheal Billig. Discourse Soc 6(2):185–206Google Scholar
  33. Franklin J (2010) The end of science journalism. In: Bauer MW, Bucchi M (eds) Journalism, science and society. Routledge, New York, pp 143–156Google Scholar
  34. Geary J, Camicioli E, Bubela T (2016) DNA barcoding in the media: does coverage of cool science reflect its social context? Genome 59(9):738–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Giorno L, Drioli E (2000) Biocatalytic membrane reactors: applications and perspectives. Trends Biotechnol 18(8):339–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Goujard C (2016) Five ways journalists can engage their audiences in storytelling: International Journalis’ Network. [Online]. Available: https://ijnet.org/en/blog/five-ways-journalists-can-engage-their-audiences-storytelling. Accessed 1 July 2016
  37. Govoni P (2010) The rise and fall of science communication in late nineteenth century Italy. In: Bauer MW, Bucchi M (eds) Journalism, science and society. Routledge, New York, pp 21–29Google Scholar
  38. Gunter B, Kinderlerer J, Beyleveld D (1999) The media and public understanding of biotechnology: a survey of scientists and journalists. Sci Commun 20(4):373–394Google Scholar
  39. Hicks DJ (2017) Scientific controversies as proxy politics. Issues Sci Technol 33(2):67–73Google Scholar
  40. Howard A (2012) Connecting with communities: how local government is using social media to engage with citizens. ANZSOG Institute for Governance at the University of Canberra and Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, Canberra. [Online]. Available: https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/bitstream/10453/42107/3/Connecting-With-Communities-Social-Media.pdf. Accessed 4 June 2016
  41. Jarreau PB (2016) Using Twitter to interact, but science communication to preach. SciLogs [Online]. Available: http://www.scilogs.com/from_the_lab_bench/using-twitter-to-interact-but-science-communication-to-preach/ [2017, 27 Feb]
  42. Jasinsk AH (2010) Public relations as a tool of science communication with society. Revista CENIC. Cienc Biol 41:1–10Google Scholar
  43. Ji-kun H, Bo-wen P (2015) Consumers’ perceptions on GM food safety in urban China. J Integr Agric 14(11):2391–2400Google Scholar
  44. Joubert M (2017) Who and where are the visible scientists in South Africa? Available: https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5307
  45. Lewenstein BV (2003) Models of public communication of science and technology. Public Underst Sci 96(3):288–293Google Scholar
  46. Lukanda IN (2018) From lab to fork? Press coverage and public (mis)perception of crop biotechnology in Uganda. Unpublished PhD thesis, Stellenbosch University, StellenboschGoogle Scholar
  47. Mackenzie R, Burhenne-Guilmin F, La Viña AGM, Werksman JD, Kinderlerer J, Kummer K, Tapper R (2003) An explanatory guide to the cartagena protocol on biosafety. Environ Bus 46:1–13Google Scholar
  48. Maeseele PA, Schuurman D (2008) Biotechnology and the popular press in northern Belgium: a case study of hegemonic media discourses and the interpretive struggle. Sci Commun 29(4):435–471Google Scholar
  49. Maille ME, Saint-Charles J, Lucotte M (2010) The gap between scientists and journalists: the case of mercury science in Quebec’s press. Public Underst Sci 19(1):70–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Malyska A, Bolla R, Twardowski T (2016) The role of public opinion in shaping trajectories of agricultural biotechnology. Trends Biotechnol 34(7):530–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Miller JD (2010) Civic scientific literacy: the role of the media in the electronic era. In: Kennedy D, Overholser G (eds) Science and the media. American Academy of Arts and Sciences [Online], Cambridge, MA. Available: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1093 [2016, 29 Apr]
  52. Miller S, Fahy D (2010) Can science communication workshops train scientists for reflexive public engagement? Sci Commun 31(1):116–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. O’Brien TLO, Pizmony-levy O (2015) Going public, gaining credibility: student perceptions of publicly engaged scholars. Sociol Perspect:1–24Google Scholar
  54. Okafor OE, Okafor PI (2017) Membership of cooperative society and adoption of agricultural technology in Awka North LGA of Anambra State, Nigeria. J Agric Biol Res 6:1–11Google Scholar
  55. Oreskes N, Conway EM (2010) Merchants of doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. Bloomsbury, LondonGoogle Scholar
  56. Peters HP (2013) Gap between science and media revisited: Scientists as public communicators. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110(Suppl):14102–14109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Petersen A (2001) Biofantasies: genetics and medicine in the print news media. Social Science and Medicine 52(8):1255–1268Google Scholar
  58. Pigliucci M (2010) Nonsense on stilts: how to tell science from bunk. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Priest SH (2008) Popular beliefs, media, and biotechnology. In: Friedman S, Dunwoody S, Rogers C (eds) Communicating uncertainty: media coverage of new and controversial science. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, London, pp 95–112Google Scholar
  60. Reul R, Paulussen S, Van der Steen L, Maeseele P (2018) Professional journalistic routines and the protest paradigm: the Big Potato Swap in traditional and alterative media. Journalism 19(7):899–916Google Scholar
  61. Rödder S (2012) The ambivalence of visible scientists. In: Rödder S, Franzen M, Weingart P (eds) The sciences’ media connection – public communication and its repercussions. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp 155–177Google Scholar
  62. Rodriguez L, Lee S (2016) What can be gleaned from news coverage to improve science reporting and enhance public literacy about agricultural biotechnology in Ghana? J Agric Food Inf 17(2–3):91–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sarrimo C (2016) The press crisis and its impact on Swedish arts journalism: autonomy loss, a shifting paradigm and a ‘journalistification’ of the profession. Journalism 18(6):1–16Google Scholar
  64. Secko DM, Amend E, Friday T (2013) Four models of science journalism. Journal Pract 7(1):62–80Google Scholar
  65. Smailhodzic E, Boonstra A, Langley D (2016) Towards new social media logic in healthcare and its interplay with clinical logic. In: Twenty-fourth European conference on information systems (ECIS), pp 1–11Google Scholar
  66. Stocking SH (2008) How journalists deal with scientific uncertainty. In: Friedman S, Dunwoody S, Rogers C (eds) Communicating uncertainty: media coverage of new and controversial science. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, London, pp 23–42Google Scholar
  67. Suldovsky B (2016) In science communication, why does the idea of the public deficit always return? Exploring key influences. Public Underst Sci 25(4):415–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Susen BS (2011) Critical notes on Habermas’s theory of the public sphere. Sociol Anal 5(1):37–62Google Scholar
  69. Takens J, Van Atteveldt W, Van Hoof A, Kleinnijenhuis J (2013) Media logic in election campaign coverage. Eur J Commun 28:277–293Google Scholar
  70. The New York Times (2016) The case of the media against the media. By the media. The New York Times (New York). 25 July. [Online]. Available: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/case-against-media.html. Accessed 28 July 2016
  71. Townson C, Brewer PR, Ley BL (2016) Public responses to forensic DNA testing backlogs: media use and understandings of science. Bull Sci Technol Soc 35(5–6):1–8Google Scholar
  72. Toy J, Vandenbroucke JP, Journal E, Holden E, Franz J (2002) The Ingelfinger rule: Franz Ingelfinger at The New England Journal of Medicine 1967−77. Science 25(6):195–198Google Scholar
  73. Tran H (2013) Does exposure to online media matter? The knowledge gap and the mediating role of news use. Int J Commun 7:831–852Google Scholar
  74. Trench B (2008) Towards an analytical framework of science communication models. In: Cheng D, Claessens M, Gascoigne NRJ, Metcalfe J, Schiele B, Shi S (eds) Communicating science in social contexts: new models, new practices. Springer Netherlands, pp 119–135Google Scholar
  75. Unesco (2011) Media coverage of science and technology (October), pp 1–40Google Scholar
  76. Ventura V, Frisio DG, Ferrazzi G, Siletti E (2017) How scary! An analysis of visual communication concerning genetically modified organisms in Italy. Public Underst Sci 26(5):547–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vilella-Vila M, Costa-Font J (2008) Press media reporting effects on risk perceptions and attitudes towards genetically modified (GM) food. J Socioecono 37(5):2095–2106Google Scholar
  78. Von Roten FC (2011) Gender differences in scientists’ public outreach and engagement activities. Sci Commun 33(1):52–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivan Nathanael Lukanda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of JournalismStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations