06.07.2017

Researchers and media

How to act in media?

Popularisation of science

Distributing information on one’s own work and delivering expert speeches also to audiences outside of the scientific community is part of researchers’ job description. The popularisation of science involves presenting research results in a form comprehensible to non-specialists. Conclusions are the most important part of popular presentations, and the general public may be interested, for instance, in the practical use of research results and their contribution to everyday life.

The popularisation of science is also a broader phenomenon and approach, not only involving communication on research results. It implies societal influence and participation. Researchers have simultaneously the opportunity to obtain broader feedback on their work.

Popular academic writing differs from scientific writing in various ways. The audiences vary, as do the publishing channels and their characteristics and requirements – and consequently the entire writing process (in a written presentation). Therefore, the contents, emphases, structure, form and style of presentations significantly differ from scientific practices. At the University of Jyväskylä, researchers are assisted by the University Communications staff, who provide, for example, media communication training.

Journalists assist researchers on addressing a message to the general public. On the other hand, both parties may find this quite challenging. Researchers may find journalists’ presentation styles too black-and-white, sensational and superficial, whereas journalists may regard researchers as opaque, narrow and careful. Their cooperation becomes easier if both of them know each other’s starting points and operating environment.