Informing Dissemination Research: A Content Analysis of U.S. Newspaper Coverage of Medical Nanotechnology News

Yulia A. Strekalova

This study examined nanomedicine coverage by the elite and regional U.S. newspapers. The study sought to study prevalent topics; examine time, risk and benefit, thematic and episodic, and societal and personal impact frames; and identify dominating overarching themes. Technology application and economic consequence were dominant topics, but contrary to the studies of other emerging technologies, regulations and moral issues were the least discussed topics for nanomedicine. A variety of data analytic techniques, including cluster analysis, were performed to analyze data. The analysis has identified three themes, Technology Prospects, High-Risk High-Reward, and Investment Costs, that dominated nanomedicine coverage.



An analysis of nanoscientists as public communicators

Anthony Dudo, LeeAnn Kahlor, Niveen AbiGhannam, Allison Lazard & Ming-Ching Liang

The American public remains unfamiliar with nanotechnology despite more than a decade of investment and development. Nanoscientists have an opportunity to contribute to public conversations about their work, and its potential implications, through their engagement with lay audiences and media professionals. Indeed, the leaderships of many professional scientific organizations have placed a renewed focus on the public communication of science, particularly in the light of drastic changes in the information landscape and the increasing politicization of many technological and scientific issues. However, we have a limited understanding of nanoscientists’ perceptions and behaviours regarding their participation in public communication. Here, we report survey results that provide an examination of the public communication behaviours of nanoscientists affiliated with the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), an integrated partnership of US research institutions designed to facilitate nanoscale research and development. Our results suggest that nanoscientists are relatively frequent public communicators who commonly associate their communication efforts with positive impacts on their professional success. We also identify a handful of characteristics that drive nanoscientists’ intentions to communicate with the public about nanotechnology.


Redesigning the architecture of policy-making: Engaging with Māori on nanotechnology in New Zealand

Debashish Munshi, Priya A. Kurian, Debashish Munshi, Talei Morrison, and Sandra L. Morrison

Although there is an extensive literature on public engagement on the use of new and emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, there is little evidence of the participation of marginalised indigenous communities in processes of such engagement. How do particular cultural values and worldviews shape the perceptions of new technologies among such indigenous peoples? This article addresses this question through an analysis of the deliberations of an indigenous Māori citizens’ panel on nanotechnology in Aotearoa New Zealand. An active process of public engagement with the nation’s Māori stakeholders, and their conversations with nanotechnology experts, sustainability activists and Māori researchers, helps map an alternative, culture-based architecture of public engagement on policies around new technologies. The analysis is grounded in a concept of active citizenship that we term ‘sustainable citizenship’.


Inequalities in Scientific Understanding: Differentiating Between Factual and Perceived Knowledge Gaps

Leona Yi-Fan Su, Michael A. Cacciatore, Dietram A. Scheufele, Dominique Brossard, Michael A. Xenos

This study assesses two key types of knowledge assessments, factual and perceived knowledge, in the study of knowledge gaps. In addition, we distinguish between communication channels in exploring the phenomenon, examining nanotechnology knowledge gaps based on levels of attention to traditional media, science blog use, and the frequency of interpersonal discussion. Using regression analysis, we find that how researchers measure knowledge can significantly affect the discovery of gaps. We also find differential effects based on communication channels, including evidence that the direction of perceived gaps in knowledge can be reversed as media consumption increases. Implications of these findings are discussed.