Scientists talking on a BBC radio daily news programme face a number of challenges. They need to present their research so as to persuade the public of its value, and balance a concern with newsworthiness with a need for professional caution. The news programme as a whole is faced with a requirement to present a balanced view of controversial issues while prioritising science over non-science. This paper examines the strategies used in 18 broadcasts, covering a range of scientific issues including health, the environment, and space exploration. In the most successful broadcasts, scientists manipulate the concept of status, to stress their role as interpreters of evidence. They also stress both the novelty and usefulness of their work, and add an affective dimension by indicating that research is interesting or exciting. The paper examines in detail some instances of balancing caution and confidence, as well as the challenges faced by programme makers in attempting to include competing voices in the broadcasts.
|Title of host publication||Discourse in and through the media|
|Subtitle of host publication||recontextualizing and reconceptualizing expert discourse|
|Editors||Marina Bondi, Silvia Cacchiani, Davide Mazzi|
|Publisher||Cambridge Scholars Publishing|
|Number of pages||91|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2015|