research

 

What News Story Characteristics Make People More Likely to Share It?

Posted 27 June 2016 by Matt Shipman

Online news outlets are interested in driving traffic to their websites. One way to do that is to get people to disseminate news stories through social media. A recent study attempts to outline which features in a news story make people more likely to share it. Getting people to share news stories online is important to online news companies, particularly those whose revenue models rely on online visitors. A study from Columbia University and the French National Institute found that... Read more

People Deem Feminine Women Less Likely to Be Scientists

Posted 24 June 2016 by Matt Shipman

A paper published in the journal Sex Roles, reports that people think that the more feminine a woman is, the less likely she is to be a scientist. The same stereotype holds true for attractive people of either gender, the paper reports. Ugh. The paper, “But You Don’t Look Like a Scientist!: Women Scientists With Feminine Appearance Are Deemed Less Likely to Be Scientists,” was published online Feb. 5. The paper was authored by Sarah Banchefsky, Bernadette Park and Charles... Read more

An Attempt to Outline What Constitutes ‘Valuable Journalism’

Posted 24 May 2016 by Matt Shipman

Journalism is essential to having an informed public, and therefore to having healthy, representative government. But the news that people actually read, watch or listen to is often focused on entertainment, sports, or funny cat videos. So, what constitutes “valuable” journalism? Is it what people want? Or is it what people “need”? A recent paper published in Journalism Studies attempts to address the issue, laying out four aspects of reporting that the paper’s authors call the dimensions of “valuable journalism.”... Read more

How U.S. Reporters Are Using Facebook, Twitter

Posted 8 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

Social media are used to connect with people and share information, so it is not surprising that reporters are using social media platforms in their work – connecting with sources and collecting information are fundamental aspects of journalism. A recent paper offers insights into how, and to what extent, newspaper journalists are using Facebook and Twitter in their reporting. The paper, “Tapping Into a New Stream of (Personal) Data: Assessing Journalists’ Different Use of Social Media,” was published online April... Read more

For (German) Journalism Sites, Comments Are Only Bad News

Posted 7 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

It’s not news that the comments sections of online news sites can be hot spots for sharing ill-informed views, ad hominem attacks, or just good old fashioned vituperation. A recent study out of Germany finds that online comments – even polite, well-reasoned ones – can also hurt the perceived quality of news stories. One reason this is worth noting is that people in the U.S. get a lot of their science news from online sources – and that number is... Read more

Working Toward a Tool to Help Us Understand How Misinformation Spreads Online

Posted 18 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people are often wrong on the internet. This can manifest itself in the form of conspiracy theories, inaccurate information related to breaking news, or misleading (or just plain wrong) information related to science and research. Sometimes inaccurate information is annoying, or even comical. Sometimes, however, inaccurate information can have serious consequences – such as online memes that mislead people about public health issues or when news reports say that an innocent person is... Read more

What Scientists Want Out Of Online Engagement

Posted 10 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

A recent article published in PLOS ONE looked at what scientists hope to achieve when engaging with the public online – via websites, blogs or social networks. The findings are interesting. Among other things, the study reports that scientists give the lowest priority to the communication objectives that may be most useful for actually engaging effectively with the public. The article, “Scientists’ Prioritization of Communication Objectives for Public Engagement,” was published Feb. 25. The paper was co-authored by Anthony Dudo... Read more

Paper Drives Home How Much Politics Influences Attitudes Toward Science Issues

Posted 3 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

  A recent paper in the journal Science Communication drives home the extent to which political identity – and the way we communicate about science – can influence a person’s attitude toward scientific issues. Here’s the short version: a study that measured the public’s response to a local water quality issue found that the more people knew about the relevant science, the more they supported an environmental science solution. However, if the water quality issue was framed as being related... Read more

The Substantial Costs and Minimal Benefits of False Balance

Posted 10 April 2015 by Matt Shipman

Good reporters strive to write balanced stories, presenting all sides of a story in as unbiased a way as possible. But this can be controversial in science reporting if the overwhelming body of evidence suggests that one viewpoint is, well, wrong. For example, some people believe that global climate change is a hoax and that vaccines do more harm than good. But the vast majority of scientific evidence tells us that climate change is real and that vaccines offer enormous... Read more

Publishers Respond to NSF Public Access Plan

Posted 30 March 2015 by Matt Shipman

On March 18, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced the steps it will take to make federally-funded research publicly available. I had some questions regarding what this might mean for publishing companies and peer-reviewed journals. I reached out to some of the largest publishers of scholarly journals, and representatives from three of the publishers responded. The answers ranged from certainty that NSF’s plan would be easily implemented to uncertainty about what the plan would mean. I’m including all three responses... Read more