LOW EMISSIONS, HIGH CONCERN: HOW CLIMATE COMMUNICATORS GRAPPLE WITH A TRANSNATIONAL ISSUE IN THE PHILIPPINES Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
Creator
  • Evans, Suzannah
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media, Mass Communication Graduate Program
Abstract
  • Climate change is one of the most pressing scientific and social issues of the 21st century. Communication about climate change has been the subject of intense interest by social scientists for the last two decades. However, the vast majority of scholarly studies about climate communication have focused on the wealthy nations that are major carbon polluters. Little is known about how climate change is communicated in the poorer nations that produce few emissions and are the first to experience the effects of climate change. This study addresses that gap in in scholarship by focusing on climate communication in the Philippines, a developing nation where climate change has been on the national agenda since increasingly devastating typhoons struck the country in the last five years. The study uses a mixed-methods design that includes semi-structured interviews and a quantitative social media analysis. Climate activists and journalists were interviewed in Manila to understand three aspects of climate communication in the developing world: journalists’ climate reporting, and activists’ social movement frame-building as well as social media strategies. A quantitative analysis of social media strategies was conducted on activist messages on Twitter targeting the U.N. climate negotiations in Paris in December 2015. This mixed-methods study of three aspects of climate communication in the developing world is informed by theories from mass communication and social movement scholarship. In particular, the study is concerned with public sphere theory and its applicability to a transnational issue – climate change – and the advent of borderless digital media systems. In general, the study finds that climate communicators in the developing world continue to be disempowered in the global debate about emissions despite the rise of global forms of journalism and open-access digital media networks. Climate journalism is still nascent and reporters struggle to connect local effects of climate change to the global issue due to organizational and cultural constraints. Activists are better-positioned to engage with climate on a transnational scale; they do this through the climate justice frame and in their social media strategies. However, developing nation voices still struggle to be heard as they compete with a multitude of other actors even in the supposedly democratic networked media space.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Reese, Stephen
  • Riffe, Daniel
  • Folkerts, Jean
  • Andrews, Kenneth
  • Kreiss, Daniel
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016
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