Pamela BARTAR, Centre for Social Innovation, Austria
Gabor SZÜDI, Centre for Social Innovation, Austria
Marina TULIN, Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Media and Communication, Netherlands
Sara DEGLI ESPOSTI, Institute for Public Goods and Policies (IPP), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain
Giuseppe PELLEGRINI, Observa - Science in Society, Italy
In today’s increasingly digitised and polarised world, we face a rather fundamental threat to social cohesion: Do we trust the same truths? As long as we are unsure about the answer, all important markers of cohesion, such as mutual understanding, inter-group bonds and trust and solidarity are at serious risk. Social science findings might be perceived as particularly uncertain, but social science communicators themselves can play an important role in rebuilding trust in science.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world it has been clear that the media has been used differently by the public and the balance between traditional and social media. Also, a new wave of misinformation, fake news and hoaxes has proven difficult to fight. One of the most important problems of stakeholders engaged in science communication, in particular media is that they are unable to communicate fundamental content to readers in the most concise way.
Uncountable photos, videos and articles reported on the media without a proper fact checking have contributed to create a distrusting attitude among people in a time when reliable news could have led people through fear and uncertainty. Is this the way journalists and communicators are meant to deal with, in what is probably the most difficult time for communicating facts and evidence after World War II?
Against this background, crises can be seen as opportunity to reframe conversations around issues of political decisions and research funding and governance etc. Promoting robust and transparent scientific and transdisciplinary methods, supported by an independent research environment can prove a valuable strategy so that consensual, sustainable policies informed by science can bring public value.
Complex topics such as the current COVID-19 pandemic require – besides ad hoc crisis communication – mid- to long-term strategies to provide sustainable settings and enable resilience in critical times. This discussion will present different perspectives gained by the multi-disciplinary project TRESCA (and further current EU-funded projects such as CONCISE) reflecting challenges to integrate novel (e.g. audiovisual) approaches in science communication. In this context, the panel will offer the venue to discuss whether the transformative trends of science communication in relation to policy have been strengthened and accelerated by the current COVID-19 crisis in such a way that restructures the strategic framework on European and regional level to better support infrastructure and education for science communication.
The panel unites multidisciplinary expert voices from TRESCA project (https://trescaproject.eu/), including project partners from Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Sara Degli Esposti), Observa Science in Society (Giuseppe Pellegrini), ERASMUS University Rotterdam (Marina Tulin) and the Centre for Social Innovation – ZSI (Gabor Szudi). Conveyor of the discussion is Pamela Bartar (ZSI).