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Trends, frames and discourse networks: analysing the coverage of climate change in Irish newspapers

Wagner, Paul; Payne, Diane


Diane Payne


This paper investigates how anthropogenic climate change is presented to the Irish public by three of Ireland’s most important national newspapers. We argue that Irish newspapers do not report climate change in an objective and unbiased way and illustrate how through the acts of agenda setting, news framing and in how they construct public discourse they present the issue in a narrow ideological form. Evidence is provided to support the argument that ecological modernisation is used by Irish newspapers to construct the issue of climate change. Our study uses three levels of analysis: (1) we calculate the trend in the coverage of climate change between 1997 and 2012 to uncover what events are correlated with peaks in coverage; (2) we conduct an in-depth frame analysis of a large sample of articles to determine how the issue is classified and categorised; and (3) we conduct a discourse network analysis to uncover which actors are given a voice, which policy measures they favour and with whom they share policy positions. The data we find support our theoretical arguments, leading us to the conclusion that Irish newspapers produce and reproduce a narrow ideological worldview that is articulated, shared and propagated by Ireland’s political and economic elites.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Apr 12, 2017
Publication Date 2017-04
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2022
Journal Irish Journal of Sociology
Print ISSN 0791-6035
Electronic ISSN 2050-5280
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 1
Pages 5-28
Keywords climate change, Ireland, media analysis, discourse analysis, ecological modernisation
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