Understanding Early-Career Science News Consumers

November 7th, 2019 | RESEARCH

In 2017, PBS NewsHour produced one of their most complex transmedia series to date. #AmericaAddicted, which focused on the opioid crisis facing communities around the U.S., included 14 broadcast reports, 10 articles on the NewsHour site, four livestreams, three Twitter chats, and more than 200 associated videos and posts on over half a dozen platforms. The different reports take a wide range of perspectives and focus on different aspects of this crisis. Each report is embedded in dense networks of content, with a variety of entry points for audience members, that tell a single overarching story: an epidemic of opioid abuse is overwhelming the United States.

For the Experiments in Transmedia study, this series provided the perfect testbed for exploring how a transmedia approach to news contributes to STEM literacies across the country. Launched in 2015 as a collaboration between WETA/PBS NewsHour and Knology, Experiments in Transmedia sought to understand how people who finished formal education fairly recently use science content from news media. In addition to the current report, Knology and NewsHour have published a number of reports and a peer-reviewed paper that describe the findings in greater depth.

Over the course of this four-year project, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, NewsHour produced STEM news reports, including the aforementioned #AmericaAddicted series. These reports covered trends across all fields of science and were distributed both on weekly broadcasts and through multiple digital platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Knology researchers worked with the NewsHour team to collect and analyze data from target audiences to understand how they use these stories to continue increasing their STEM literacies, competencies, and skills. 


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Team Members

John Fraser, Co-Principal Investigator, Knology
Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein, Author, Knology
John Voiklis, Author, Knology
Uduak Grace Thomas, Author, Knology
Nicole LaMarca, Author, Knology
Kathryn Nock, Author, Knology
Kate Flinner, Author, Knology
Joseph de la Torre Dwyer, Author, Knology
Patti Parson, Principal Investigator, PBS NewsHour


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1516347

Related URLs

Changing Media Practices and the Future of STEM Journalism
Experiments in Transmedia: Studying Techniques for Increasing STEM Content Acquisition by Young Adults


Audience: Adults | Evaluators | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Health and medicine
Resource Type: Reference Materials | Report
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media