Taiwanese life scientists less “medialized” than their Western colleagues

Yin-Yueh Lo, Hans Peter Peters

The article presents results from surveys of life scientists in Taiwan (n = 270) and in Germany (n = 326). Fewer Taiwanese than German researchers have frequent contact with the media and they rate their experiences with journalists less positively. Furthermore, they are less prepared to adapt to journalistic expectations and to a greater extent than German researchers they expect journalists to consider scientific criteria in their reporting. These findings are interpreted in Weingart’s “medialization of science” framework as indicators of lower medialization of science in Taiwan than in Germany. However, Taiwanese scientists are more willing than German scientists to accept journalistic simplification at the expense of accuracy. This is explained as an adaptation to the media system and to the perceived scientific literacy of the media audience. We hypothesize that cultural differences regarding the relative priority of relational vs. rational communication goals may also contribute to more tolerance of journalistic simplification in Taiwan.

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