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Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of Tampere The School of Communication, Media and Theatre COMET
COMET - Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication

Reporting on Innovations Concerning Climate Change

This research project combines two contemporary and strongly emerging fields of media research. First, the project looks at journalism’s essential role in the emergence and adoption of new innovations. The present economic viability and growth are dependent on how the societal information flows function and how knowledge about recent innovations is disseminated throughout society. Via the concept of innovation journalism, attention has been paid to the ability of journalism to act effectively for the innovation economy.

Second, the role of journalism in communicating innovations is looked through the lens of climate change as a global challenge. Climate change as a phenomenon has been well-known for decades. However, only since the 1990s has there been a new wave of awareness of this phenomenon and its consequences. Journalism has been, and continues to be, in a key position vis à vis such major changes in society. On one hand, journalism disseminates information on climate change to the general public. On the other hand, journalism is involved in generating critical debate and information transfer between different institutions (and individuals).

In short, the research project will produce comparative information on how technical, economic and social innovations pertaining to the management of climate change are reported in various parts of the world. The study aims to find out how issues related to climate change are addressed in various journalistic tools and genres, and how journalism serves as a societal agent of change in different countries and contexts.

The main method of study will be quantitative content analysis of media texts on climate change (in newspapers and periodicals, television news and websites). The content analysis will look at how, with reliance on what sources of information and to what extent innovations pertaining to climate change emerge in journalism. The results of the quantitative analysis will be supported by qualitative frame analysis.

In this research project, journalism is considered contextually. In the analysis of the media texts attention will be paid to international comparisons, which help us to understand how the economic, political, cultural and social contexts affect journalistic performance on reporting on climate change and various innovations connected to it. In addition, comparative setups will be made with reference to individual subjects and themes. The following, for example, may be researched:

  • How emission deals are reported in the news (writing on economic innovations)
  • What forms of consumer journalism are generated by climate change challenges (writing on social innovations)
  • How journalism reports on international negotiations (writing on political innovations).

The comparative material may also generate insight into international movements of information on climate change and reporting on innovations, for example, by showing the main sources and media that set the international agenda. Relying on such relations may also yield a tentative picture of what the international system of journalism for a global problem like climate change is like.

The study forms part of a more extensive project on innovation journalism, which is set to run until the end of 2010. Research on innovation journalism on climate change is being implemented in collaboration with a TEKES funded project on the challenges of global innovation journalism. The project is also involved with an international network in which the consequences of climate change and writing on it are scrutinised on a global scale. The coordinator of the network is the CulCom Project at the University of Oslo and its MediaClimate project.

Contact information:

Risto Kunelius
Tel. +358 40 190 4085
Journalism Research and Development Centre
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
33014 University of Tampere, FINLAND


Elisabeth Eide, Risto Kunelius, Ville Kumpu (eds): Global Climate local journalisms
A TRANSNATIONAL STUDY OF HOW MEDIA MAKE SENSE OF CLIMATE SUMMITS. Global Journalism Research Series, vol. 3© Projektverlag, Bochum/ Freiburg 2010; 354 S./pp; Text in Englisch. ISSN 1865-1615 ISBN 978-3-89733-226-3.

Post address: Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication, FI-33014 University of Tampere, Finland
Visiting address: Kalevantie 4, E-Wing,(3 rd floor)
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Last update: 10.10.2011 15.24 Muokkaa

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