A study of the history of medical and science journalism on Dutch public television shows that the representation of science on television has changed over the last 25 years. Scientists and experts no longer play a leading role in medical and science programmes. Experts and journalists have changed places putting the journalist in a central position. This has had consequences for the distribution of speaking time the storyline about science and the design of the programmes. Medical and science journalism has developed in the same way as political and general news journalism on television over the last fifty years. Medical and science journalists in the Netherlands have like their colleagues elsewhere evolved from being propagandists of medicine and science to being so-called image brokers about science. These brokers create a lot of space for themselves and their own conversations with lay people. Infotainment techniques are used to build a bridge between science and the public. This research shows that the journalistic culture of the public broadcasting organizations has adjusted itself to market considerations prompted by the rise of a dual broadcasting system of public and commercial television in the Netherlands since 1989.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis
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TMG Journal for Media History; Vol 11, No 1 (2008); 109-131

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