RAPID: Influencing Young Adults’ Science Engagement and Learning with COVID-19 Media: KQED Science and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Changing Nature of Disaster Reporting

Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Resource Type:
Research Case Study | Research | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media
Adults | Museum/ISE Professionals
Health and medicine
KQED, Inc., Texas Tech University, Rockman et al

KQED and Texas Tech advanced professional knowledge in the journalism and science communication fields around crisis reporting and building a media practitioner and academic researcher collaboration for audience research through a study conducted by Scott Burg of Rockman et al.  Rockman gathered data between October 2020 - May 2021, interviewed KQED Science staff and participated in virtual observations of KQED project and related staff meetings to answer our second research question:

Can KQED develop a more efficient process of disaster reporting that responds to both constantly updating information and changing audience needs which can be used and expanded upon by media outlets?

Conclusions and key takeaways from the study include: 

  • Identifying knowledge gaps during a pandemic is critical.

  • Infographics and visuals are more effective at comunicating information.

  • Science reporting is changing rapidly given our times.

  • More emphasis is needed on solutions oriented research and reporting. 

  • There is need for researchers and journalists to be more audience focused.

  • Solutions are needed to align audience research with the daily science news and reporting cycle. 

  • Journalists need to establish and sustain richer relationships with impacted communities, and focus on solution-based reporting. 

  • Hire news staff that reflect the community. 

  • Use a variety of information platforms for communicating with your audience -- broadcast, web, social media and increase the use of engagement strategies.

  • Provide resources for real time fact-checking. 

As a result of this study, news organizations and media makers now have a deeper understanding of what types of media (social, online, video, audio) and what communications factors (storytelling style, visuals, length, platform, etc.) influence science learning and engagement around COVID-19 for young audiences. The project also provided media professionals a much-needed chance to reflect on disaster reporting, which will inform future planning and effectiveness.

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Team Members

Sue Ellen McCannPrincipal Investigator
Sevda ErisSevda ErisCo-Principal Investigator
Asheley LandrumAsheley LandrumCo-Principal Investigator
Scott BurgAuthor

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