The Many Layers of Local: Proximity and Market Influence on News Coverage of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill*
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© 2017 by the Southwestern Social Science Association Objective: On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the death of 11 oil rig workers and a sea floor oil gusher releasing over 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. The objective in this article is to shed light on the local media environment surrounding the spill, comparing local television news coverage among the five states most directly affected by the disaster. Method: In our method, we conduct a content analysis of news coverage in various Gulf media markets. Result: In line with previous research, our results indicate that proximity matters in terms of story volume, prominence, and tone; our results also contribute to the literature by demonstrating significant variation across Gulf markets depending on local economic considerations. Conclusion: We contend this finding is important given how frames in coverage of disasters influence public opinion, political behavior, and the degree to which citizens are able to hold governments accountable.
author list (cited authors)
Turcotte, J., Kirzinger, A., Dunaway, J., & Goidel, K.