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university of tampere: faculty of communication sciences: research: comet - tampere research centre for journalism, media and communication: projects:
Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of Tampere The School of Communication, Media and Theatre COMET
COMET - Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication

Visual representation of climate change in journalism

The subject of the doctoral thesis is the visual communication of climate change in the media. The research covers illustrations of climate change in the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat from the year 1990 to 2013. The thesis focuses on three main questions:

1. Which visual motifs stand for climate change in Helsingin Sanomat?

2. How have illustrations of climate change developed during twenty years?

3. What sort of differences and similarities in visual communication can be found between Helsingin Sanomat and foreign newspapers?

The role of visual communication is crucial in the social construction of global climate change. Images can turn an invisible phenomenon visible and provide essential visual proof, without which any social problem is less likely to provoke political action. This role of visual communication is especially important in the social construction of climate change which as a phenomenon has remained largely unseen in everyday life. 

Visual communication always deals with representation, which involves selection of various kinds. Climate change can be illustrated as e.g. melting glaciers, wind turbines or politicians. Each motif leaves out other ways of picturing climate change, i.e. different aspects of the problem. For instance, if climate change is regularly illustrated as a technological issue, social and equalitarian aspects remain out of public sight. By repetitively representing climate change in certain ways journalism can affect common mental images and visual frames connected to the issue. Therefore the visual communication of climate change is an important field of scientific analysis. 

The Project is funded by The Emil Aaltonen Foundation and Finnish Cultural Foundation. 

The project will last for four years (2013─2017).

Jarkko Kangas
Researcher
School of Communication, Media and Theatre (CMT)
University of Tampere
+358 44 0341382

 
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)
Maintained by: cmt.info@uta.fi
Last update: 31.1.2014 15.01 Muokkaa

University of Tampere
+358 3 355 111
registry@uta.fi


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