'There is so much science being done that has a direct impact on our daily lives, and it is important that the public is able to find out about it and engage with scientists,' said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. 'The media has an immensely important role to play here, both in keeping people informed about scientific developments and in shaping how society perceives scientists and the work they do. I hope this first European Forum on Science Journalism will be the start of a renewal of the dialogue between scientists and the media.'
Europeans are generally satisfied with the presentation of science in the media, with more than the half (56%) expressing their contentment. However, almost a quarter (24%) of those questioned were dissatisfied and a fifth (20%) had no opinion. The great majority considered the scientific information they got from the media to be reliable (65%), objective (63%), useful (60%), varied (57%) and sufficiently visual (57%). At the same time there were complaints that the issues were difficult to understand (49%), far from their concerns (45%) and not entertaining (51%). Generally those questions indicated that they would prefer scientists (52%) to present scientific information, rather than journalists (14%). There was also a marked preference for short news reports rather than longer in-depth pieces.
Television was the most popular (61%) and most trusted (47%) medium for information about science, though there was a preference for traditional (47%), rather than thematic (27%) TV channels. Virtually every second European surveyed (49%) read science articles in general newspapers and magazines. Around a third of EU citizens listened to radio programs (26%) and looked at information about this topic on the Internet (28%).