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Media Coverage on Climate Change: An Analysis of the Relationship between Newspaper and Government Frames

Sandbrand-Nisipeanu, Julia (2016) Media Coverage on Climate Change: An Analysis of the Relationship between Newspaper and Government Frames. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:57548)

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Climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our times. Most people receive information onclimate change from the mainstream newspapers and broadcast media and it is important that this information be as accurate and complete as possible. As for many other topics, governments are an important point of reference for media coverage on climate change, as they are the main actors regarding international climate negotiations and national climate policy.

In this thesis, I set out to compare newspaper and government frames in four countries: the UK, Germany, the US, and India. Using qualitative content analysis, I examined government communication and two quality and one mid-market or popular newspaper in each country in two time frames. The first time frame was the month around the 2011 Durban Conference, the second in June 2012. The countries' newspaper regimes were categorised following Hallin and Mancini's (2004) model of media systems, which correspond with different political systems. Frames have become a popular tool to structure media content. This thesis makes a point of using a clear and narrow definition of framing by drawing from strong elements of existing definitions.

I established government frames and checked newspaper articles for frame congruence. The independent variable originally was political parallelism, which, in Hallin and Mancini's model plays a key role in determining the relationship between media and political system. After a first evaluation, political parallelism showed to have less explanatory value for the relationship between newspaper and government frames than expected. As a second explanatory variable, I then established national loyalty, a concept, on which I elaborate in this thesis. This new element gave the thesis a more exploratory character.

This study shows that it is possible to apply Hallin and Mancini's framework beyond countries that are included in their original study without trying to fit them into one of the existing models. However, the study also indicates that for climate change coverage, political parallelism seems to play a role less important than described by Hallin and Mancini. The newspapers rather seem to follow national loyalty, when covering international climate negotiations in particular. This national focus stays in contrast with the global character of the issue of climate change and raises questions for future research.

This study contributes to the field through its comparative and longitudinal design. While there exists a good body of research on media coverage on climate change, particularly for US and UK media, most studies are cross-sectional and focus on one country. Future research can widen the scope of media included and further explore the notion of national loyalty in media coverage.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Cocking, Ben
Uncontrolled keywords: Frames Framing Political Parallelism Media Newspapers Climate Change Content Analysis UK USA Germany India Qualitative Research Nationalism National Loyalty
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Centre for Journalism
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2016 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 15:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Sandbrand-Nisipeanu, Julia.

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