Project Website: http://www.sciencejournalism.net
The GE3LS Project is pleased to announce today that it has published the first of
its interview results. Please visit the Science Journalism Research Group
for complete details.
The Pleiades Promoter Project aims to develop genetic tools towards therapeutic interventions
for brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression,
ADHD and autism. Genomics research and gene therapy are among the most controversial
areas of science, raising ethical, legal, social and other issues. This GE3LS
project will investigate issues related to the public communication of controversial
science, with a focus on genomics and gene therapy.
At present, this communication is limited by misinformation, advocacy, poor science
communication and inadequate journalism. This research is thus motivated by three
- What is the science communication process that produces genomic journalism?
- What roles do the news media play?
- How does the public comprehend and use the information they receive?
Areas of Research
This GE3LS project consists of three main areas of research.
Our research will build on existing literature. Therefore, the first step will be
to examine what has been written about the journalism done on genomics and gene
therapy. This will include articles written in journals, books, Web material, content
analyses, research projects and theses. After this initial stage of review, we will
expand to include writings on the philosophy and history of science, science journalism
in general, journalism ethics and public communication of science.
Surveys and interviews
To gain insight into how newsrooms obtain and handle science news we will perform
surveys and interviews with both newsroom editors and journalists who cover science.
The first stage of this research will focus on the major broadcasters and major
print outlets. We will expand to include Internet media in the second stage of this
Furthermore, we will develop and perform psychological studies on how the public
understands complex subject matter such as genomics through focus groups, questionnaires
For a period of one month we will monitor major newspapers and broadcasters for news
reports on genomics with a goal of being able to illustrate how the science journalism
news system operates in Canada. We will analyze for both factual (topic, position
in news slot, headline-article tension, origin of story, types of sources, structure)
and normative (accuracy, balance, context, critical facts about the science being
reported, positive and negative implications, metaphors, types of "frames") variables.
Science journalism course at UBC School of Journalism
This GE3LS project will lead to the creation of the first
course in science communication/journalism at a Canadian school of journalism. Beginning
in January 2007, a credited course at the UBC School of Journalism will be open
to both journalism and science students.
A Web site for science journalism information will stem from this project (http://www.sciencejournalism.net).
Useful to scientists, educators, journalists, and the interested public, this will
be a one-stop site for science journalism. It will include the latest information
on the Pleiades Promoter Project, the GE3LS project
and other related projects. News items, featured invited articles, upcoming events,
research news and resources for journalists and others will be included on the site.
Two workshops on the public communication of science will be held to examine project
research and issues in genomic journalism.
Model for science journalism
Theoretically, the project will develop a new and more adequate normative model of
the elements of good science journalism and identify fundamental norms and standards.
In addition, the project will construct a new model of the role of science journalism
in an age of new media.
The results of the research will be published widely in all media formats -- from
journals and books to Web sites and magazines.
As a direct result of the GE3LS project, a $10,000 science
scholarship has been established at the School of Journalism, which in 2006 is being
shared equally by second-year journalism students Gwen Preston and Jeffrey Helm.