Bridging Science and Journalism – Identifying the Role of Public Relations in the Construction and Circulation of Stem Cell Research Among Laypeople

John Lynch, Desiré Bennett, Alison Luntz, Courtney Toy, Eva VanBenschoten (SC)

Journalism has been a key site for communicating science, and public relations departments at universities and research hospitals are a vital institutional link between science and journalism. Located betwixt scientific demands for didactic explanations of science and journalistic desire for interesting stories, biomedical public relations writing juggles competing rhetorical demands. This study shows that press releases favor the concerns of internal scientific audiences over journalistic audiences. Yet stories that provide journalistic appeals to application are more likely to gain a journalist’s attention, although journalists will then develop their own appeals to application to incorporate into the story.


Organizational Influence on Scientists’ Efforts to Go Public: An Empirical Investigation

Frank Marcinkowski, Matthias Kohring, Silke Fürst, Andres Friedrichsmeier

This article contributes to the debate on the influence of organizational settings on scientists’ media contact. Drawing on a quantitative survey of researchers (n = 942) from 265 German universities, the results indicate that a large proportion of scientists from all disciplines participate regularly in the dissemination of research findings. The authors provide evidence that scientists’ media efforts are influenced by how they adopt their university’s desire to be visible in the media, as well as by the university’s PR activities. The increased orientation toward news media is discussed in the light of the new governance of science within Europe.


Corporate science education: Westinghouse and the value of science in mid-twentieth century America

Sevan G. Terzian, Leigh Shapiro

This study examines a largely neglected aspect of the history of science popularization in the United States: corporate depictions of the value of science to society. It delineates the Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s portrayals of science to its shareholders, employees and consumers, and schoolchildren and educators during World War Two and the postwar era. Annual reports to shareholders, in-house news publications, publicity records, advertising campaigns, and educational pamphlets distributed to schools reveal the company’s distinct, but complementary, messages for different stakeholders about the importance of science to American society. Collectively, Westinghouse encouraged these audiences to rely on scientists’ expert leadership for their nation’s security and material comforts. In an era of military mobilization, the company was able to claim that industry-led scientific research would fortify the nation and create unbounded prosperity.