The evidence is: status, communication training, and intrinsic rewards are positively associated with scientists communicating with the media

Mar 13 2010 Published by under STS Myths abound about how scientists do not talk with the media or communicate with the public and if they do so, it is only because they are required to by funders' "broader impact" requirements. The evidence, however, does not support this view.

This article is another in a series of communications based on a multi-national study of how scientists in several fields communicate with the media. (you might have seen [1] or [2]). This article only uses data from US scientists who were recently corresponding authors on peer reviewed articles in stem cell research and epidemiology (survey sent to 1,254 with a response rate of 34.5% for n=363). Refer to the article for detailed description of their research questions, statistical methods, and significance.

Two-thirds of the scientists had interacted with the media in the previous 3 years. More than a quarter interacted with the media six or more times. Status - career level and number of publications - was positively associated with a greater number of media contacts.  Respondents who were confident in their ability to interact with the media and those who participated in formal communication training were more likely to interact with the media. The authors found that extrinsic rewards  - like funder/sponsor and their own reputations - were not statistically significantly associated with frequency of interaction with the media. Intrinsic rewards - the scientists enjoyed communicating - were associated with more frequent interactions.



Dunwoody, S., Brossard, D., & Dudo, A. (2009). Socialization or rewards? Predicting U.S. scientist-media interactions Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 86 (2), 299-314. Retrieved March 13, 2010 from



[1] Peters, H. P., Brossard, D., de Cheveigné, S., Dunwoody, S.,  Kallfass, M., Miller, S., & Tsuchida, S. (2008). Science communication: Interactions with the mass media. Science, 321(5886), 204-205. doi:10.1126/science.1157780

[2] Scheufele, D. A., Brossard, D., Dunwoody, S., Corley, E. A., Guston, D., & Peters, H. P. (2009, August 4). Are scientists really out of touch? The Scientist, Retrieved from

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