Media presentations of climate change

Boykoff, Max and Smith, Joe (2010). Media presentations of climate change. In: Lever-Tracy, Constance ed. Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Routlede International Handbooks. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 210–218.



In this chapter, we explore the dynamic role of mass media in covering anthropogenic climate change. We provide an overview of contexts that shape media portrayals through time, and then briefly explore various processes that shape the production of ‘news’. We then survey the dissemination and interpretation of environmental news once it enters the public sphere. Overall, we wish to help make sense of how media depictions shape understanding of anthropogenic climate change, while touching on how larger political contexts influence such framing processes. Throughout, we take the position that ‘truth’ is not simply translated or reflected. Instead, mass media processes – at multiple scales – significantly shape how actors, issues, event, pronouncements and information are perceived. Therefore, it is worth considering how media representations contribute to perceived possibilities for current and future actions.

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