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Public Perceptions of Science

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Public Perceptions of Science
Nowadays media is having a huge influence on the public perception. Every new information is taken by different types of media and is transmitted to the public in very different ways. There are different sources of media so there are many ways of interpreting new information depending on the media format, the audience, who is founding that media source and also what outcome they want to obtain from the public.
Newspaper- is an old way to get your information; its target audience are people above the age of 18. In the newspaper the level of accuracy is not as high because the news are mostly changed by the journalist depending on what the government wants to communicate to the public because they are funding them. The language use is basic so the news can be understood by everyone. * Scare stories- in the newspaper we can find stories that are meant to have a bad influence on the public because they are talking about the rapid spread of the viruses like Ebola. They are mostly there to exploit the public fears because those are also controlled by the government. * Specialist journals- give reports about a specific subject to the public. In here you can find scientific articles of the week. Its target audience are the scientists and also the public. They are written by the people with some scientific knowledge and that’s why the language used is more scientific; they also give more details about the cases. Their purpose is to inform the audience about the new research, discoveries and everything around the science field.

TV- is based on transmitting the information to a very large distance; its target audience is large because every age group is watching the TV. * Scare stories- are presented by the news channels and are meant to have a bad outcome on the public opinion. They are made and interpreted in different ways depending on the news channel you are watching. They are presented in a video and audio format and sometimes are followed by a footage that will have an impact on the audience. * Science documentaries- are presented on a video and audio format with a narrator voice in the background. They are presenting a specific topic based on the channel you are watching. Their information is scientific and accurate and strict related with the topic presented. Their main purpose is to inform the audience about nature, new discoveries, new inventions, etc. * Science docu-fiction-is a film or a TV shows that is presenting facts or scientific information about a specific topic of science. Their usual audience are mostly young adults. In here the scientific information is given

Internet- is having a larger audience than the TV and the Newspaper. Is allowing you to view past and present new. The audience was only made by young people and young adults but because of the technology expansion now the internet is used by every age group. Depending on the website you are getting your information the language can vary and also the way is presented. - on the internet you can find everything that is presented on the news and on TV; you can find everything from the ‘scare’ stories to scientific journals and science docu-fiction because on the internet you can find written news and also video-audio news and recorded documentaries. - the internet is accessible to everyone so everyone can interpret the news and tell their own opinion about a specific scientific discovery/information/news through social networks like blogs, facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.

Influence of the Media

In the past few weeks in every type of media you can see news about a New deadly disease, Ebola; The failed test flight of the spacecraft; UN call for action on climate; How man’s best friend could hold the key to anti ageing; World’s salamanders at risk from flesh eating fungus; and many more.
I decided to discover how is media influencing the public perception about The new deadly disease and How man’s best friend could hold the key to anti ageing; to find out the public opinion I conducted a questionnaire about those two topics.

New deadly disease: Ebola
I found out that more than 75% of the people that took the questionnaire, heard about Ebola from the internet and the rest of them heard about it from the newspapers and TV.
I asked them if they are aware of what is happening around the world because of this and most of them answered with yes and that they are aware to not get in contact with anyone that is coming from Africa.
As additional questions I asked what their opinion on this new disease is and how they fell after the media showed them what is happening with the people that have it; everyone said that they are scared of this new virus and they are taking precaution methods not to contact the virus.
The last question I asked the public was ‘Why do you think media is presenting news about this disease?’ the answer that everyone chosen was the fact that the media is presenting news about this disease to keep us informed on what we should do to prevent the spreading of this.

How man’s best friend could hold the key to anti ageing?
From this questionnaire I found out that more than 60% of the people heard about this from the internet, and 15% of them never heard about this because the news wasn’t that important like the Ebola case. In the questionnaire I asked their opinion about this and most of them were really excited about this new discovery and they are actually thinking of experimenting this if it will look like is really working.
The next question it was if they were aware how this is possible and everyone didn’t had a clue which is showing that the media is giving to the public only the information they want the public to know.
I also asked if they know how most of the researches are founders and the answers vary from: sponsored by govern; people that are interested in the research and money from the taxes we play also some of them didn’t have a clue. The last question I asked the public on this news it was ‘Why do you think media is presenting news about this new discover?’ and the most chosen was that the media wants us to keep an interest in science and that in the world are new discoveries that might benefit us.

Justified concerns?
I made some research on my own on how is the media presenting those two cases to see if the concerns of the public are justified.
I was shocked to see that in all the news about Ebola the media is only presenting the bad side of it. Some of the reports are showing that scientist are conducting some research to find a cure but in most of them is all about the deaths, the fact that is spreading fast and that there is no chance to win the battle with this virus.
The reports about Ebola are rising are justifying the public reactions because the target audience are the young adults, parents, elderly people and the people that are on the power. Also the language used in those reports is chosen to create panic and to raise concerns in the public.
I think media is aiming on the old people, young adults and important people because they need money for researches and they want to convince the audience to try and help with the founds. I also think that all the news about Ebola is there to make the population to pay attention to other thing that the important one that are happening every day.
The other news I chose is ‘How man’s best friend could hold the key to anti ageing?’; most of the reports media is giving about this are vague and they don’t contain a lot of information about the process.
I think most of the reports given by the media are hiding the effects of the drugs on the dogs because people will start protesting. Also the way they are trying to avoid the concerns of the audience on these effects; media is using a vague and simple language.
Even though not a lot of people are interested in what’s happening with the dogs that test the drugs because they are more fascinated by the fact that there is a method to hide the signs of ageing; the concerns raised of some of the media formats are justified because the animal testing is morally wrong.

Media contribution
New deadly disease: Ebola
I think that this story started with a negative impact on the public because all we could hear on the new was about how many deaths are there, how many people are infected and the fact that it starts spreading all around the world with first suspect of Ebola in USA and UK.
They reported this at every moment of the day and I think the concerns raised were valid for that moment of time because it was a new virus and they needed to keep everyone informed but they mostly created panic around the world.
Now the new about Ebola start being more positive saying that there are some nurses working on testing centres to find a cure for this disease and also saying that they manage to stop the spreading of the virus. I think the media is now showing a positive part of this because the Christmas is near and the public doesn’t want to hear negative news around the holidays.

How man’s best friend could hold the key to anti ageing?
In my opinion the news is trying to show the positive part of this because animal testing is morally wrong in the eyes of most people around the world the media is trying to cover this by saying that this might help at preventing Cancer and heart diseases.
They are trying to cover the wrong ethic by assuring the people that the dogs will be treated nicely and the drugs won’t affect the health of the dogs. I strongly think that animal testing is wrong but the media is not raising any concerns about this which makes the public agree with this.

Over all I think that media can have a negative or positive contribution towards the public’s perception because of the information that is transmitted to them.
I also think that media is choosing what they want to tell to people and what they don’t only because they are influenced by the people that are founding them; also I think the people that are founding the media source is deciding whether they a positive or a negative outcome from the public.

Resources * http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/14/-sp-ebola-diary-burials-go-on-christmas-is-cancelled-in-sierra-leone * http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ebola-virus/pages/ebola-virus.aspx * http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28755033 * http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/ebola/ * http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/nov/08/anti-ageing-drugs-tested-on-dogs-cancer-heart * http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Anti-Aging/dog-anti-aging-longevity/2014/11/10/id/606459/ * http://www.newsrt.co.uk/news/how-man-s-best-friend-could-hold-the-key-to-anti-ageing-2752596.html

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