Use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate change

Ruiu, M. L., & Ragnedda, M. (2021). Use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate changeStudies in Communication Sciences, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.24434/j.scoms.2021.02.004 (Open Access)

Abstract. This paper investigates the use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate change between 1988 and 2016. It is based on the analysis of eight newspapers and their Sunday and online versions (Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent). We used the keywords “climate / climatic change”, “warm / warming” and “greenhouse / greenhouse effect” to retrieve the articles from the Nexis / Lexis database. To identify the articles with a specific focus on climate change, we included only those containing the keywords in the headline (9789 items). Framing theory helps interpret the process of construction of the “threat” through science by showing a tendency towards scientific consensus for the centre / left-leaning newspapers, and an instrumental use of consensus for the centre-right. These findings are useful for both scientists and policymakers interested in understanding how climate narratives can promote delay in action on climate change.

The article has two main research questions. The first question relates to the evolution of CC scientific frames in British newspaper re­porting over time:

RQ 1: How have scientific frames of CC evolved in British newspaper reporting?

The sec­ond question investigates the themes associated with the use of scientific frames:

RQ 2: What are the prominent stories associated with the use of scientific frames over time?

The analysis of the topics associated with the use of scientific frames is relevant to understand what topics and aspects of ev­ery day are associated with the scientific construction of CC.

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