High Stakes

An Interview Study of Researchers’ Motivations for and Experiences of being Interviewed by Journalists

Research Professor Benedicte Carlsen 1  and PhD, Associate Professor Hanne Riese 2
  • 1 Uni Research Rokkan Centre, Bergen
  • 2 Department of Education, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen

Abstract

Researchers are key sources of an increasing amount of research news in the media. Hitherto, the meagre empirical literature on researchers’ media performances has been divided in two strands: one indicating that researchers are generally motivated to report their research in the media, and the other paradoxically reporting negative experiences of and conflict with journalists. The aim of the present study was to explore Norwegian researchers’ motivations for participating in and experiences of journalistic interviews. We find that researchers’ main reason for seeking media coverage is that they want their findings to be of use to society. This makes it essential to avoid errors or misleading framing of the news report. Despite strong motivations to do so, the researchers experience that communicating through the media is stressful and that their motivations for seeking media attention are in conflict with the motives of some research journalists. The study reveals a link between researchers´ motivation for seeking media coverage and their experiences of conflict with journalists.

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