Climate Change Coverage in British Newspapers

Mediedekning av klimadebatten er tema for vinneren av Ungdomskonkurransen Fritt Ord 2010.

Kjer­sti Skaa­raa­en Her­berg fra Gjø­vik videre­gå­en­de sko­le vant første­pri­sen i Ung­doms­kon­kur­ran­sen Fritt Ord 2010 med bidra­get «Climate Chan­ge Cover­age in Bri­tish New­spa­pers». Vox Pub­li­ca pre­sen­te­rer her det kon­klu­de­ren­de avsnit­tet i Her­bergs arbeid. Du kan også las­te ned bidra­get i sin hel­het (pdf).


The con­clu­sion is that alt­hough the­re are some sig­ni­fi­cant dif­fe­ren­ces, The Dai­ly Mail and The Dai­ly Tele­graph deal with the issue glo­bal climate chan­ge rat­her simi­lar­ly, and that both are rat­her scep­ti­cal.

The Telegraph’s cover­age seems more scep­ti­cal towards the exist­en­ce of climate chan­ge than the Mail’s, alt­hough it is the case for both that the pro­portion of scep­ti­cal artic­les is lar­ger than the pro­portion of scien­tists that are so. This must be seen in con­nec­tion both with tar­get group and poli­ti­cal alle­gi­an­ce. The Tele­graph has an enqui­ring approa­ch, sup­po­sed­ly becau­se that is the way it wis­hes to sell itself. The Mail’s tendency to exag­ge­rate may also part­ly be explai­ned with the newspaper’s gene­ral jour­na­lism.

Both new­spa­pers take the indi­vi­du­al Bri­tish citizen’s point of view in mat­ters like tax increa­ses, becau­se this is cohe­rent with the reader’s opi­nions and inte­rests. How­e­ver, this is to a grea­ter extent the case in the Mail than in the Tele­graph, pos­sibly due to dif­fe­rent tar­get groups and new­spa­per cate­go­ries. Anot­her sig­ni­fi­cant obser­va­tion is that espec­ial­ly the Mail focu­ses large­ly on cele­bri­ties, pre­sumab­ly due to news values, the new­spa­per cate­gory and, to a cer­tain extent, cul­tural aspects.

These fin­dings have been shown like­ly to be the result of con­scious jour­na­lism and inten­tio­nal edi­to­ri­al deci­sions. Sin­ce the essay only con­si­ders two new­spa­pers over a limi­ted time-peri­od, gene­ra­li­zing the fin­dings to apply to all con­ser­va­ti­ve broads­he­et and tab­lo­id new­spa­pers is ina­ppro­pria­te. Nevert­he­less, the investi­ga­tion ser­ves as an indi­ca­tor of Bri­tish new­spa­pers’ cover­age of climate chan­ge.







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