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The ESCAPE Project

Background, Sustainability and Transferability

Series:

Mark Russell, Helen Barefoot, Bryan Taylor and Leigh Powell

Rasch Model

Research and Practice in China

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Zhang Quan

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Edited by Phyllis Katz and Lucy Avraamidou

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Edited by Phyllis Katz and Lucy Avraamidou

Homeostasis and Novelty as Concepts for Science Journalism

A Re-Interpretation of the Selection and Depiction of Scientific Issues in the Media

Series:

Lars Guenther

Abstract

When formal school education ends, for most people mass media become the most important and often the only source of information about science, scientific work, and scientific findings. Thus, media create informal learning contexts when they inform their readers, viewers, and listeners about new advances in science and technology. In these contexts, mass media have the potential to actively influence how people feel and think about science. That is why it is important to investigate how journalists select and depict scientific issues in the media. Homeostasis and novelty can be seen as related to news factors that guide a science journalist in his or her professional work, i.e. when selecting from a pool of potential issues. While the factors consonance, continuity, and composition can represent tendencies of homeostasis; unexpectedness, curiosity, and topicality can represent novelty. In addition, the terms can be applied to historically describe the way science journalists have reported on science, and how others have expected them to report. This chapter will discuss homeostasis and novelty as concepts for science journalism, with a special focus on the media’s representation of scientific evidence (= (un)certainty of scientific results).