Category Archives: Research


Research director publishes study on Spanish-Language media coverage of environmental issues

Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi and faculty affiliate Manuel Chavez published a study titled “El Ambiente y Las Noticias: Understanding U.S. Spanish- Language Newsrooms’ Coverage of Environmental Issues” in the International Journal of Hispanic Media.

The study was co-authored with Juliet Pinto and Mercedes Vigón from Florida International University.

The researchers examined the content of environmental news in Spanish-language television stations and newspapers, reporting a very limited amount of coverage that mostly focused on specific events, such as hurricane Sandy.

They also interviewed 12 news professionals at various Spanish-language news organizations to examine their coverage of environmental issues. The findings demonstrate that the impact of revenue-streams needs, the perception that environmental news is not important, and the perception that environmental coverage lacks immediacy and impact are the main factors explaining the lack of coverage of issues such as climate change.

The results of the study are important because the Hispanic population will continue to grow in size and power in the U.S., and the coverage of environmental issues such as climate change will become more important for them. Understanding the gaps in the coverage and the factors preventing such coverage is a necessary step in improving environmental reporting by Spanish-language media.

The study can be accessed here.

Saint Petersburg State University offers Popular Science Journalism master’s program


Julia Balashova

Julia Balashova

Professor Julia Balashova heads the master’s program in popular science journalism at St. Petersburg State University in Russia. She is affiliated with the Knight Center as a Fulbright Scholar doing research at MSU this academic year.


By Julia Balashova

Schools of journalism in Russia offer a variety of specialized master’s programs. For example, those at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Saint Petersburg State University include International Journalism, Political Journalism, Business Journalism and Sports Journalism. Several years ago, we started a new master’s degree program called Popular Science Journalism, and it is the only such specialization in Russia.

Training science journalists is necessary for the country, society, science and the media themselves. Global media markets demand science journalists. However, until recently, Russian universities were not engaged in preparation of science journalists. The contemporary trend, named “science with and for society,” means establishing communication between separate areas of the elite scientific and societal spheres.  Continue reading

Visiting Fulbright researcher writes about scientific enlightenment in Russia

logo st petersburg stateProfessor Julia Balashova of St. Petersburg State University has just published an article about the traditions of scientific enlightenment in Russia.

She is affiliated with the Knight Center as a Fulbright Scholar doing research at MSU this academic year.

Balashova is a professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she heads the master’s program in popular science journalism.

Her article in the International Journal of Environmental & Science Education examines scientific enlightenment at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a period characterized by significant scientific and sociopolitical changes.

At the time, the level of education in Russia was extremely low, and good education was accessible only to the upper class, according to the study, “The Scientific Enlightenment System in Russia in the Early Twentieth Century as a Model for Popularizing Science.”

Therefore, a program for popularizing science was launched. The main means of popularization of science included publication of popular-science periodicals and giving universities considerable autonomy. During the subsequent Soviet period, popularization of science continued, but included a government drive to eliminate illiteracy in light of Marxism-Leninism

Research director publishes study on sustainability behaviors

Bruno Takahashi

Bruno Takahashi

Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi published a study titled “Sustainability behaviors among college students: an application of the Values-Belief-Norm theory ”  in the journal  Environmental Education Research. The study, co-authored with Knight Center faculty affiliates John Besley and Adam Zwickle, along with doctoral students Cameron Whitley and Alisa Lertpratchya, presents an analysis of survey data of over 1,500 undergraduate students at Michigan State University.

The researchers examined the effect of values, beliefs and social norms – on transportation choices, recycling, food choices, energy conservation and support for political candidates. A comparison of the five behaviors reveals that adherence to biospheric values is a consistent predictor for all behaviors measured. Social norms were also important in explaining the extent of engagement with these behaviors. Continue reading