Whenever there’s some information that needs to reach people, it’s important to communicate it well. Science communication involves providing information about certain scientific topics and educating the audience about them. As a result, there is an increased awareness among them about new discoveries and inventions.
Today, there are many science communicators across the world. However, their level of scientific knowledge and expertise in science communication varies to a considerable extent. In the process of communication, they usually use a lot of humor, metaphors, persuasion techniques, and storytelling. Scientists can also undergo training for improving their communication with the application of some of the techniques.
In recent times, there’s a lot of potential in science communication to generate support for scientific education and research. Here, we’ll try to understand the utilization of contemporary media for science communication.
Print, radio, and television
Communicating science to larger audiences is easier with the help of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. People came to know about science in the past with the help of newspapers and magazines. These forms of traditional media were more reliable in producing high-quality information.
The people behind their production were professional journalists. As a result, everything had a significant degree of perfection in writing and presentation. The traditional form of journalism was quite effective in setting agendas and impacting the government policies. It was a one-way communication, where no dialogue with the audience would take place.
Even with the advent of radio and television, there was no participation from the public. Once a story appears in the mainstream media, the scientists have no control over how the communication takes place. So, there are high chances of misinformation and misunderstanding among the audience.
Online interactions are possible through websites, blogs, social media platforms, and podcasts. They can be cost-effective means for science communication. With the recent technological advancements, there have been significant improvements in handheld devices and internet speeds. This has increased the potential of online media to reach a wide audience.
Dialogue between the scientists or science communicators and the public is also possible with online interactions. The content is always accessible and the scientist can control it to a great extent. It facilitates one-way as well as two-way communication. How the audience picks up the content is always difficult to control in this case.
Public lectures, speeches, and other face-to-face events give science communicators the opportunity to interact with their audience. Research shows that these live events also encourage active participation of citizens. They can also be a lot more entertaining, depending on the amount of skills that the communicator has in this field.
Non-professional or untrained speakers won’t be as effective as the professional or trained speakers. The biggest advantage of live events is that they allow a two-way dialogue. The scientists or science communicators can interact personally with the audience and clear their doubts.
They also have full control over the content of their speech. Of course, there are certain disadvantages of live events. They’ll not have much reach unless they’re live on television or on social media. Setting them up also involves significant costs.