Science Communication in Times of Corona

Already a few weeks ago, a working paper was published with me as a co-author. The paper grew out of the investigation into science communication ‘under the radar’ of established channels during the pandemic and analyses major phases of science communication in 2020/1.

Based on a review of and investigations into major political and pandemic-related research events, the working paper outlines how science communication in Germany evolved from a typical unidirectional outset from February to April 2020 with only a few actors and organisations involved in the communication into a more complex scheme, involving a range of communicators, more confrontational communication (shifting from discussions on knowledges to debates on social values) and — albeit only in a few instances — multidirectionality.

The gist of the argument is that, in spite of multiple calls for a more multidirectional approach prior to the pandemic, when corona hit, science communicated in a rather unidirectional way — and the public generally accepted this, due to the novelty of the crisis and the need to gather information on something nobody seemed to understand. Although the corona crisis and the communication situation gradually changed, the communication model stayed more or less the same; yet, a new array of actors became involved, widening participation, yet not directionality.

A colleague and me were able to talk about the main points of the paper in an interview already, but whoeever is interested in getting the whole picture can read the complete working paper here. As usual, though, in German only.


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