Sanna Ala-Kortesmaa

Science communication: Who listens to whom?

The open dialogue between scientists and journalists is vital in the postmodern era of communication in which science communication is often misused in order to create fake news. The shared understanding of the state of science resulting of successful science communication is on numerous occasions pushed to the sidelines.

What do all examples of successful science communication have in common? The willingness to listen. Science communication is not just about sharing information, it is also about helping to understand, facilitating the adoption of new thinking models, building trust, and enabling public discussions. What many professionals do not realize is that the listener has the emotional upper hand in the communication situation. For instance, when researchers challenge themselves to discuss their scientific research results with receivers in mind, they listen to their listeners and speak their language, and thus, get their point across easier. When journalists interview scientists with a genuine intention to listen, their articles may promote reciprocical listening in possible conflict situations.

In this circus session, different dimensions of scientific communication are discussed from the standpoint of interaction and listening.

What I Do

University lecturer, Tampere University