This discussion makes for a very interesting read. For most scientists and journalists alike, the process of communication about science to a wider audience is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. What particularly surprises me in this discussion is that Cole, a profesor of journalism, thinks the audience should become more science literate and that will bridge the gap between science and society.
However, it’s highly debatable whether factual information plays a big role in how people form their opinion on topics. Survey studies show that knowledge plays only a small part in explaining the variations in opinions, and we know from political communication studies that people only collect the information that they think is necessary to form their opinion. An interesting read, for instance, is arecent article by Matthew Nisbet and Robert Goidel.
There’s a whole world of science behind the process of science journalism. Let me know what you think about the necessity of science literacy and the role that science journalists play.