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WIREs Clim Change
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Political economy, media, and climate change: sinews of modern life

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In this 21st century, examining how climate change is described and considered, largely through mass media, is as important as formal climate governance to the long‐term success or failure of efforts to confront the challenge. Mass media stitch together formal science and policy with the public sphere. And many dynamic, contested factors contribute to how media outlets portray climate change. This paper addresses contemporary political economics—from greater workloads and reductions in specialist science journalism to digital innovations and new media organizational forms—as they relate to media coverage of climate change. By way of recent studies and indications of these dynamics, we appraise how power flows through culture, politics, and society, to construct coverage, public discourses, and knowledge on climate change. In so doing, we explore how media representations of climate change have changed over time, and particularly how the rise of digital media has reshaped climate coverage. Considerations of climate change, arguably the most heavily politicized scientific issue at the turn of the new millennium, seek to inform and anticipate corollary science issues, such as ongoing concerns for genetically modified organisms, nanotechnology risks, and increased threats to water quantity and quality. The focus on political economy—the ‘sinews’ of modern life—can also then help to inform perceptions and decision making in associated environmental challenges. WIREs Clim Change 2013, 4:359–371. doi: 10.1002/wcc.233

Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

Newspaper coverage of climate change or global warming in 50 newspapers across 20 countries and six continents from January 2004 through March 2013. For comparative purposes regional numbers have been assembled by assessing the number of articles per newspaper per month. These newspapers (appearing alphabetically by newspaper) are as follows: The Age (Australia), The Australian (Australia), Business Day (South Africa), Clarín (Argentina), the Courier‐Mail (Australia), the Daily Express (and Sunday Express) (United Kingdom), Daily Mail (Mail on Sunday) (United Kingdom), the Daily News (United States), the Daily Telegraph (Australia), Dominion Post (New Zealand), Fiji Times (Fiji), the Financial Mail (South Africa), Globe and Mail (Canada), the Guardian (and Observer) (United Kingdom), The Herald (United Kingdom), the Hindu (India), Hindustan Times (India), the Independent (and Sunday Independent) (United Kingdom), Indian Express (India), the Irish Times (Ireland), Japan Times (Japan), the Jerusalem Post (Israel), the Jerusalem Report (Israel), the Korea Herald (South Korea), the Korea Times (South Korea), the Los Angeles Times (United States), the Mirror (Sunday Mirror) (United Kingdom), the Moscow News (Russia), the Nation (Pakistan), the Nation (Thailand), National Post (Canada), the New Straits Times (Malaysia), The New York Times (United States), New Zealand Herald (New Zealand), the Prague Post (Czech Republic), The Press (New Zealand), The Scotsman (and Scotland on Sunday) (United Kingdom), the South China Morning Post (China), the South Wales Evening Post (United Kingdom), The Straits Times (Singapore), The Sun [and News of the World (until July 2011)] (United Kingdom), Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), the Telegraph (and Sunday Telegraph) (United Kingdom), the Times (and Sunday Times) (United Kingdom), The Times of India (India), the Toronto Star (Canada), USA Today (United States), the Wall Street Journal (United States), The Washington Post (United States), and Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan). For monthly updates and for country‐level assessments of the United States, United Kingdom, India, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, go to http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/media_coverage/.
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Perceptions, Behavior, and Communication of Climate Change > Communication
The Social Status of Climate Change Knowledge > Knowledge and Practice

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