When we studied this at CSIRO in the 1990s we found the same thing, that science was of greater interest than sport – and it looked very exciting for those of us who love science.
However when we explored beneath the surface of the raw numbers we found:
- Around a half of people were actually terrified of science and how it was changing their lives and their “interest” in it consisted more of wanting to know what fresh nasties, challenges or inconvenient developments (like losing your job to a robot) it had in store for them.
- Only about a third of people were actually enthusiastic and wanted more science because they loved it.
So before we indulge in too much self-congratulation, we should try to find out what it is in science that people are really interested in, and why.
Julian Cribb FTSE
Julian Cribb & Associates
ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245
If you EAT, you should follow: http://twitter.com/#!/ComingFamine
I'm a bit sceptical about news polls showing people want more science in their news.
If that's the case, why aren't sales of New Scientist higher than New Idea? (FYI: New Scientist about 20,000; New Idea audited at 294,000)
There are a string of these polls - here's one from 1997:
Science tops in poll vote
A new poll shows that Australians are more interested in brains than brawn.
The survey of 1060 Australians from across the nation shows that they would rather follow media stories about science, medicine and technology than sport, crime or politics. It was conducted by AGB McNair on behalf of CSIRO.
Dr Joe Baker, President of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), said that he was writing to the editors of Australia’s top media outlets urging them to give greater coverage to science.
“The batting performance of Mark Taylor and the political agenda of Pauline Hanson have come under the most intense media scrutiny. But where is the equivalent scrutiny of S&T?
And Tamzin is right - if we (the release writers) want science in the media, we have to make it relevant or interesting to ordinary people.
On 22/07/2013, at 12:15 PM, Tamzin Byrne wrote:
And for their first story - 20 seconds on why we should all eat our greens?
I'm not sure a petition is the way to go. They shouldn't be obliged to cover science - it's our job as science communicators to persuade them to, with interesting stories which are relevant to their audience. How many science releases have a youth angle?
Plus - Hack seems to do a pretty decent job covering science. I can't claim to have listened recently, but in their online story archive at http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/stories/ I count 10 out of 20 stories with a science/health/environment link.
Science in Public
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 11:38:20 +1000
From: Melanie McKenzie <email@example.com>
Subject: [ASC-list] More science in the news petition
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Would you like to hear more science in the news? According to a recent ANUpoll (http://www.anu.edu.au/anupoll/images/uploads/ANUpoll_on_science.pdf), Australians are more interested in a variety of science topics over politics or sport. And yet 45% feel "not very well informed" or "not informed at all" about science.
Please support our petition to lobby Triple J (as Australia's publicly owned youth radio station) to include a short "In Science" report in their hourly news updates.
To sign the petition:
For more information about the campaign:
We're aiming for 20, 000 signatures, so we'd be most grateful if you'd ask your friends and colleagues to consider signing the petition. International supporters are also welcome!
Thanks in advance,
Melanie McKenzie (Science Communicator)
and the rest of the "And In Science" team
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