Science communication in times of the COVID-19 pandemic – news media, social media and the role of misinformation

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020 researchers all over the world soon realized that it presented particular challenges for science communication but also rare opportunities to study what has worked, what failed, which mistakes were made?

Aufzeichnung vom 06.12.2021

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Of particular concern was the concurrence of the immediate threat to everyone’s health to which governments responded with harsh restrictive measures and the surge of communication, reporting and commenting on the medical scientists’ dealing with the pandemic, the reliability of their diagnoses, their advice to governments, and the spread of misinformation by the social media feeding public protests. 

The researchers appearing in the workshop, all of them established experts in science communication, have carried out studies in Europe, the US and South Africa looking at the early responses to the pandemic. Thus, they give a rare view of the challenges to science communication in an extreme situation.

An Online-Workshop presented by the Interdisciplinary Research Group “Implikationen der Digitalisierung für die Qualität der Wissenschaftskommunikation” (Implications of digitization for the quality of science communication).



Chair, introduction & closing remarks

  • Peter Weingart (Member of the Academy, Spokesperson of the Interdisciplinary Research Group “Implications of digitization for the quality of science communication”)


  • Thorsten Quandt (University of Muenster, Germany): “Pandemic waves and information flows: Findings from a longitudinal content analysis of German mainstream and alternative news”
  • Mark Eisenegger (University of Zurich, Switzerland): "On the Quality and Dynamics of the Covid 19 Discourse - The Case of Switzerland"
  • An Nguyen (Buornemouth University, UK): ”Reporting from a statistical chaos: journalistic lessons from the first year of Covid-19 data and science in the news” 
  • Dominique Brossard (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA): “Fact-checking in times of COVID-19: a risk communication endeavor”
  • Dietram Scheufele (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA): “Misinformed about the “infodemic?” – Science’s ongoing struggle with misinformation” 
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