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Much of the science communication and journalism studies literature continues to reiterate the same critiques about science journalism. This literature accuses science journalists of inaccuracy, sensationalism, oversimplification and failing to engage audiences in meaningful debate about scientific issues. However, research has yet to offer concrete solutions to journalists that connect theory to practice in an effort to counter these criticisms. In this paper, we approach this gap through the development of clearly articulated models of science journalism that are supported by theoretical considerations of the varying purposes of science communication, and then, importantly, tied to practical story development criteria. Four models are presented: science literacy, contextual, lay-expertise and public participation. These models are clear representations of how science journalism can be produced from within different theoretical frameworks and thereby provide a theoretically-informed but practical guide for nuanced evaluations of the quality of science journalism.

Keywords: models; research synthesis; science journalism; writing criteria

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2013

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