Iranzo, María & López-García, Guillermo (2021). «Scientific power in the Spanish press during the pandemic: a portrait of new leaders while explaining its risk». Revista Communication & Society, 34(2), pp. 263-280. DOI: 10.15581/003.34.2.263-280
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This work is based on the mediatisation of society theory, which establishes more attached importance and the presence of the mass media as mediators in various social processes, as well as on Production Studies, that analyse creative skills to draw an audience, to apply these theories to the media representation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective is to analyse how the generalist media have represented male/female scientists, who have become social benchmarks during the first COVID-19 wave in Spain. Our initial hypothesis considers that the purpose of the mediatisation of scientific discourse was to contribute answers to, and to keep society calm, in an uncertainty context. By content and discourse analyses with a sample formed by 172 pieces of work published between 25 January and 5 July 2020 in four Spanish digital newspapers, we observed how these specialists not only became the usual sources of journalistic information but were also the main leading figures in them. The mass media pay attention to their statements, but also to their aesthetics and communication style, which are singular compared to conventional power to date. Science enters the national section with its own image and explanatory intentionality. Nonetheless, constant overexposure and its link with governments making controversial decisions influence the image held by the public opinion of scientists with time, which dissociates them from its knowledge and identifies them with political power.