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Who matters in climate change discourse in Alberta

Faculty Advisor




climate change, media trust, survey, content analysis, Canada

Abstract (summary)

Climate change is major global policy issue. The news media play a vital role in conveying information about climate change to the public, giving voice to a variety of perspectives as well as outlining policy responses to this issue. However, the growing distrust of news media could lead to dire outcomes on the public's knowledge and policy support related to climate change. This paper uses a mixed method approach (random digit dialing survey, content analysis of newspaper articles) to examine information sources used in learning about climate change, whose voices are presented in climate change discourse, and whose voices are trusted. While news media are the most popular source of information about climate change (n=1207), only half of respondents reported trusting the news media. Scientists are the most trusted source of information (n=1208) and most cited source in news coverage (n=48). Their messages focus on the sources of climate change and the seriousness of this problem. Scientists' messages about climate change are clouded by high levels of distrust in the news media, the primary venue through which their messages are conveyed. In this context, climate change knowledge, level of concern, and support for public policies may suffer.

Publication Information

Boulianne, Shelley and Stephanie Belland. 2019. "Who Matters in Climate Change Discourse in Alberta." Pp. 46-53 in Climate Change, Media & Culture: Critical Issues in Global Environmental Communication, edited by J. Pinto, R. Gutsche, and P. Prado. Emerald Publishing Limited. doi:10.1108/978-1-78769-967-020191007.


Item Type

Book Chapter




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