Navigation Links
Media source impacts ag biotech communication

MADISON, WI, OCTOBER 20, 2009 -- Communication between the public and government is a necessary component of public trust. For many modern issues, constituents trust that their legislators understand the science behind these topics and pass legislation for the betterment of society. While science has its uncertainties, much of that public trust is subsequently transferred to the scientists who inform legislators. Past studies show that scientists were seen as trustworthy sources of information; however, the public would like scientists to be more open, sharing their scientific knowledge through information sources such as mass media. For an issue as debated as agricultural biotechnology, communicating factual scientific information is a necessary ingredient in public acceptance.

Dr. Gary Wingenbach, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University, collected data from 2004 to 2005 to examine current and possible future legislators' perceptions of biotechnology. Also, data collected on information sources used by respondents to learn more about agricultural biotechnology helped the authors understand the impact of media types when communicating the science of biotechnology to others. Results from this study have been published in a recent edition of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.

Two groups selected for this descriptive study included elected state officers of the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization and Texas House and Senate legislators. The National FFA provides opportunities for high school and college students to increase their knowledge of agriculture and develop leadership skills. The group was chosen because state FFA officers have a propensity for seeking elected public offices.

Both groups relied on the Internet and newspapers as sources for agricultural biotechnology. However, Texas legislators used the Cooperative Extension Service significantly more often than did state FFA officers, whereas the FFA officers relied more on the Internet.

"We weren't surprised by the group differences in information source preferences," said Wingenbach. "State FFA Officers were 18 to 20 years old, while Texas legislators were 45 to 55 years old. Information source preference through online access only has become the norm for young audiences."

Other results showed that respondents believed it was important to continue agricultural biotechnology research on seven issues: safer food, reduction of pesticides, added nutritional value, risk compared to pesticides, benefits and/or harm to the environment, and control of released genes. Both groups thought biotechnology practices had "positive" not negative effects on the environment.

Science-based education about agricultural biotechnology through the most accessed media could produce more informed leaders. To prepare a more informed future public, other studies should assess the effects of an agricultural science curriculum on students' understanding of agricultural biotechnology and/or other agricultural topics (e.g., BSE, avian influenza, etc.) in the media. Informed understanding of current agricultural topics, such as biotechnology practices, may lead to an informed public, and to future leaders who could more readily understand the science of agricultural biotechnology.


Contact: Sara Uttech
American Society of Agronomy

Related biology news :

1. September Geology and GSA Today media highlights
2. Heart of Herschel to be presented to media
3. Last chance for media to register for ECCO 14 -- the European Cancer Conference
4. October Geology and GSA Today media highlights
5. Media highlights in the November issues of Biophysical Journal
6. November GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY Media Highlights
7. Nanotechnology and the media: The inside story
8. December GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY media highlights
9. Better protection for biomedial devices could result from Rutgers-Camden research
10. Media highlights in the Dec. 15 issue of Biophysical Journal
11. Immediate action needed to save corals from climate change
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces ... joined its Board of Directors. --> ... after recently retiring from the partnership at TPG Capital, ... companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  He founded ... across all the TPG companies, from 1997 to 2013.  ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... --  Growing need for low-cost, easy to use, ... the way for use of biochemical sensors for ... clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense applications. Presently, ... applications, however, their adoption is increasing in agricultural, ... on improving product quality and growing need to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into ... of vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer ... drivers, and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive ... the vehicle. Europe , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global ... competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve ... each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today that ... Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ... will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that its ... at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at the law ... Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel ... and Izhak Tamir to the Board of Directors; ... directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms of options ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a company ... Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive officer, will ... on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 p.m. Eastern ... City. --> --> ... Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign up to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: