Science and research make for newsworthy topics in the mass media. The stories reported by the media are likely to have an impact on people’s awareness and attitudes. Furthermore, the coverage can potentially influence people’s confidence in research and researchers, as well as their interest in scientific knowledge.

Photo: Researchers’ Grand Prix.

In 2020– 2021, we investigated media reporting and public trust during the COVID-19 pandemic in a study called  Communication about Corona.


In 2019, VA undertook a study together with the popular science magazine Forskning & Framsteg on behalf of The Swedish Research Council. The purpose was to investigate how research and science can be made more accessible in Sweden, both to the general public and to other target groups outside of academia.

The results were presented in the report ‘Research Foresight’ (Forskning.framsyn), which also includes descriptions of around 20 communication initiatives in other European countries. (Read a summary in English)


As part of the Science in Society project, VA published three reports in 2019 related to science coverage in the news media. In Behind the headlines twelve Swedish journalists were interviewed to investigate what influences their reporting of scientific issues. The full report is available in Swedish only. 

The other two reports were content analyses looking at (1) the coverage of science and research in Swedish newspapers, 1995–2015, and (2) opinion pieces signed by researchers in Sweden’s largest newspaper, 1992–2015 (reports available in Swedish only).


In 2014 we conducted a systematic analysis of the major Swedish news media (daily press and television) over the period 2002–2013 to investigate whether media coverage of research misconduct affects public confidence in research and scientists: Misconduct and confidence – a media analysis (summary in English).


In 2005 we conducted telephone interviews with 550 journalists working in different types of media. At the same time we analysed the science-related content in a sample of daily newspapers, youth magazines and family magazines. We also asked 1,854 journalists a number of more in-depth questions on science and researchers. The following reports in English summarise the study and its results:

How Journalists View Science – Summary

How Journalists View Science, 2005 – Presentation

Science in the Press – Summary

On VA Day 2005 the relationships between science and journalism were discussed: Summary of VA Day 2005

At a workshop with journalism students and doctoral candidates in November 2005 the issue of what happens when science and journalists meet was addressed. Summary: What happens in the meeting between scientists and journalists – Workshop report

 

Read the latest articles:


| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Coronavirus in the Swedish media study – high public confidence in researchers and healthcare professionals

For three out of four Swedes, the news media is their primary source of information about the new coronavirus. In terms of the visibility of different professional groups in the media coverage, Swedes have the highest confidence in doctors and researchers, while there is a lower level of confidence in government officials. These are the findings of a new survey undertaken by the Swedish non-profit organisation VA (Public & Science).

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

New Swedish study to investigate how information is being communicated to society during the corona pandemic.

The Swedish non-profit organisation VA (Public & Science) has launched a study to understand how people in Sweden are receiving and interpreting information about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The project will include a number of surveys to measure public attitudes combined with studies of the actual media reporting. We invite other organisations to collaborate in the study, and are interested in hearing from those undertaking similar studies in other countries. The study is taking place during spring 2020.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

What makes science newsworthy? New VA study of Swedish science journalists reveals the decisions behind the headlines

Healthy food, the climate and immigration. These are the three research areas that stir up the most debate amongst the general public, according to Swedish science journalists. Twelve journalists were interviewed to investigate what influences their reporting of scientific issues in a new report, recently published by the Swedish non-profit organisation VA (Public & Science).

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Misconduct and confidence – a media analysis

Does media coverage of research misconduct affect public confidence in science and scientists? This is the question that VA (Public & Science) has been investigating, together with the SOM (Society Opinion Media) Institute at the University of Gothenburg.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

How Journalists View Science – summary

Summary of VA-report 2005:6

A total of five hundred and fifty journalists were interviewed about their views on science and their experience of communicating with researchers.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

VA-day 2005 on science and media

Erika Ingvald, freelance science journalist

Murmuring ripples through the packed auditorium of Studio 2, Radiohuset inStockholm. It is November, and the theme for the fourth VA-day is science and media.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

What happens in the meeting between scientists and journalists

Report from a Stockholm workshop

The boundary effect is a condition of altered friction and turbulence which occurs in the region where the atmosphere meets the ground. The workshop “Boundary Effect: What happens in the meeting between scientists and journalists” held in Stockholm on Nov 9 2005, explored whether there might be an analogous set of rules that only apply at the interface of science and journalism. If so, how do conditions in this “know-man’s-land” affect science, the media and ultimately society as a whole?

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