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Visualizing Climate Change: Television News and Ecological Citizenship


Lester, EA and Cottle, S, Visualizing Climate Change: Television News and Ecological Citizenship, International Journal of Communication, 3 pp. 920-936. ISSN 1932-8036 (2009) [Refereed Article]


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Television images can provide powerful symbols of ecological disaster. As Ulrich Beck notes (2009, p. 86), the catastrophic consequences of climate change must be made visible not only to enhance understanding, but also to generate pressure for action. Taking our cue from current social theoretical ideas about media and ecological citizenship, as well as from Beck’s writings on the "symbolic politics of the media," we set out to empirically examine the nature of climate change visualization within television news. We explore two analytically distinct dimensions of news visualization: 1) pictures, scenes, and spectacular images of nature(s), places, and people as under threat; and 2) how accessed strategic relations of contention are visually infused with signs of trust and credibility. To better understand the contribution of the news media to ecological citizenship, we argue that we must attend to both of these visual rhetorics and examine how each enters into the public representation, elaboration, and now deepening contentions of climate change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, visualization, television, news, symbols, understanding, action
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Media studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:The media
UTAS Author:Lester, EA (Professor Libby Lester)
ID Code:60479
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:English, Journalism and European Languages
Deposited On:2010-02-08
Last Modified:2012-12-14
Downloads:841 View Download Statistics

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