Regional news portrayals of global warming and climate change Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • In this study we utilize content analysis techniques to examine how the issue of global warming and climate change has been characterized during the period of 1992 through 2005 by the Houston Chronicle-the largest regional newspaper in the Texas coastal region. A total of 795 global warming and climate change news articles from the Houston Chronicle are collected, coded and analyzed. Data analyses are organized and presented with regard to issue salience, various issue attributes (issue image, scope, linkage, participant, proposed solution and responsible party), use of science, and scientific information sources cited in the news stories. We find that regional media attention to the global climate change issue generally increases over time and an overwhelming majority of the news articles view the issue as a harmful problem. However, given the scientific consensus that global warming will result in significant devastating climate change consequences to the coastal regions, there are still a fair number of news articles delivering mixed, undetermined or even non-harmful messages. We also find that climate change is often discussed as a national or international-global issue, and frequently linked to a number of other public issues rather than just being viewed as an environmental-ecological problem. Moreover, we find that emphasis on issue solutions is placed more on mitigation strategies than on adaptation behaviors, and that both governmental and non-governmental actions and responsibilities are suggested for dealing with climate change. In addition, our findings indicate that the regional newspaper in Texas obtains scientific information on climate change primarily from academic institutions. Implications of our findings and recommendations for future research are discussed in the concluding section. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, X., Vedlitz, A., & Alston, L.

citation count

  • 65

publication date

  • August 2008