Start Date

30-4-2021 12:00 AM

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Faculty Mentor

Vanessa Levesque, PhD, and Joseph Staples, PhD

Keywords

Coronavirus, media, coverage, climate change, news

Abstract

This research aimed to answer the question “has the coronavirus impacted the print media’s coverage of important environmental issues?” The research analyzed 2 different print newspapers - The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal - to determine if there was a change in coverage of environmental news as the coronavirus spread in the US. Data for stories published in the first four days of every month from March through September was compiled for 2019 and 2020. Our findings showed a 78.85% decrease in coverage of environmental issues between 2019 and 2020 when stories related to the coronavirus pandemic flooded the news and accounted for 31.9% of all stories published by the two papers. Our findings indicated a clear decrease in the coverage of environmental issues in the print media, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. This research is an essential first step at quantifying the impacts that major global events have on the news cycle and media coverage of environmental events. It goes to show how the framing of some issues allows readers to take other issues, such as climate change, lightly and view them as not time-sensitive. Media coverage plays an important role in educating and determining the opinions of the public. A lack of coverage of environmental news could be detrimental to public opinion and the policy agenda. It’s important that environmental news coverage is not interrupted to continue supporting the narrative that climate change is an urgent threat to our planet and societies.

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Apr 30th, 12:00 AM

Media Analysis of Coverage of Environmental Issues in the Midst of a Pandemic

This research aimed to answer the question “has the coronavirus impacted the print media’s coverage of important environmental issues?” The research analyzed 2 different print newspapers - The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal - to determine if there was a change in coverage of environmental news as the coronavirus spread in the US. Data for stories published in the first four days of every month from March through September was compiled for 2019 and 2020. Our findings showed a 78.85% decrease in coverage of environmental issues between 2019 and 2020 when stories related to the coronavirus pandemic flooded the news and accounted for 31.9% of all stories published by the two papers. Our findings indicated a clear decrease in the coverage of environmental issues in the print media, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. This research is an essential first step at quantifying the impacts that major global events have on the news cycle and media coverage of environmental events. It goes to show how the framing of some issues allows readers to take other issues, such as climate change, lightly and view them as not time-sensitive. Media coverage plays an important role in educating and determining the opinions of the public. A lack of coverage of environmental news could be detrimental to public opinion and the policy agenda. It’s important that environmental news coverage is not interrupted to continue supporting the narrative that climate change is an urgent threat to our planet and societies.

 

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