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Environmental Problems through the Spanish Press: Methodological issues and preliminary results B.Cortés*, MªAmérigo*, J.I.Aragonés# y V.Sevillano# * Dpto.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Problems through the Spanish Press: Methodological issues and preliminary results B.Cortés*, MªAmérigo*, J.I.Aragonés# y V.Sevillano# * Dpto."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Problems through the Spanish Press: Methodological issues and preliminary results B.Cortés*, MªAmérigo*, J.I.Aragonés# y V.Sevillano# * Dpto. Psicología. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha # Fac. Psicología. Universidad Complutense de Madrid 17th Conference IAPS-2002

2 Outline Theoretical background Theoretical background The Qualitative Study Design The Qualitative Study Design Preliminary Results New direction of this qualitative inquiry New direction of this qualitative inquiry

3  Theoretical Background  Psychology has an indispensable role in understanding environmental problems and finding solutions... But causes and solutions are varied.  They do not lie only in psychological variables; they also lie in external forces operating on classes of individuals or on social systems. (Stern, 2000)

4  Vitally important for understanding environmental beliefs and values are socialization and social learning. (Zelezny, Chua y Aldrich, 2000)  “Consciousness raising” is stimulated and reinforced by societal institutions; it is a necessary ingredient in social learning. (Milbrath, 1986)  Integratives theoretical models of environmental concern presume that value orientations underlie environmental attitudes and behaviour. (Stern, Dietz y Kalof, 1993; Thompson y Barton, 1994)

5  A substantial part of our experience comes indirectly, through various forms of media exposure. If media reporting is biased, then much of our experience will be biased, too. (Combs and Slovic, 1979; Bonnes et al. 1997) Mass media are powerful socialization agents and create a symbolic universe in which transmitters and recipients are inmersed as members of a society in a concrete context.  They are an excellent way in which to discover how a body of knowledge (e.g. environmental problems) becomes socially accepted as ”reality”.

6  The Qualitative Study Design Primary research questions: What environmental problems receive newspaper coverage in Spain? From what perspective are they presented? How is said perspective expressed in the chosen texts?

7 We presume that: Newspaper coverage offers social frames of reference which can reduce or amplify particular environmental problems; Events occurring on a daily basis condition their presence and/or persistence in newspaper coverage. Method Three national newspapers were selected: ABC, EL MUNDO, EL PAÍS. Different ideological orientation Same period of time

8 Calendar for scheduling sampling dates  53 dates for each journal  Total = 159 issues Predefined conditions : “Substantive issues” included as environmental problems in relevant international research. News items where the headlines, subheadings, inserts or highlighted texts (bold face, italics, or larger typographical lettering) correspond to any of the predefined subjects. Editorials, letters to the editor, and articles of opinion where a diagonal reading reveals any of these subjects. Exclusion Criteria A rticles related to production or judicial conflicts about agriculture or cattle Advertising and comic strips News related to historical-artistic heritage Suplements from Autonomous Comunities Sampling Frame

9  Further Sampling Decisions Based on consideration of the evolution of environmental conceptualization: going from a traditional definition in natural terms to one where there is an interdependence between the social, cultural, and economic dimensions (related to the development model). Check-sampling by independent researchers: aids definitional clarity and is a reliability check. As soon as the field work begins to compile information, challenges appear Inclusion of articles related to: Accidents & disasters Demografic trends Warlike conflicts New technologies AIDS, tobacco Poverty, globalization, human rights IF there was EXPLICIT RELATION with ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

10 Early Steps in Analysis  Codes and coding Database design: date-newspaper- page-headline-keyword indicating thematic content (possible bias) Total = 1765 News ítems 168 Keywords 1º Filter: Elimination of differences due to typographical errors Elimination of keywords with less than 5 mentions Thematic grouping; e.g. Pollution  contamination Natural catastrophes  natural disasters Woodlands, protected forests & virgin forests 48 Keywords  1536 of the total nº of articles (87%)


12  Preliminary Results  Analysis of the 5 most frequently used keywords Mad cows35623% Radiations111 7% Foot and mouth disease 99 6% Nuclear energy 97 6 % Nat. Hydrological Plan 93 6% Fr = 48% Particular persistence in newspaper coverage Frecuency Analysis NewspaperNews%Keywords ABC45629,6936 MUNDO52934,4442 El PAÍS55135,8743

13 Frecuency  New codes (straightforward category label) = more than 50 mentions

14 Lexical Analysis: The global Structure (SPAD) toxic emissions storm nuclear arms-hurricane- stormy weather NHPlan dangerous combustion Development- Welfare State single sky AIDS-conservation of nature-tobacco wind- animals greens nuclear energy natural disasters WTO electrical failure floods genetic research-land speculation

15 Comparative lexical analysis: 1999 & 2001 Storm-toxic emissions- Welfare State hurricane- pardoning of debt forest-toxic products volcano depletion of species population inequality WTO development nuclear energy tobacco conservation of nature- animals- natural disasters poverty rain AIDS envir-defense WTO nuclear energy floods Toxic wasre depletion of species land speculation pardoning of debt forest- volcano nuclear weapons single sky wind- renewable energy-greens earthquake genetic research electrical failure dangerous combustion mad cows foot & mouth disease NHP radiations fox hunting

16  New Direction of This Qualitative Inquiry  Analytic progression: moving to identify discourse trends.  Deductive or “conceptual” strategy: Consideration of three forms of denial related to environmental conflicts or “symptoms of moral exclusion” (Opotow & Weiss, 2000). denial of outcome severity, denial of stakeholders inclusion, and denial of self-involvement. Ethical orientation underlying environmental problems + Heuristic value in the analysis of environmental problems as socially constructed


18 EXAMPLE:  Analysis of database: headlines from the three newspapers  1 st. date in December ´99 ( )  Comparison of the headlines grouped under WTO  ABC. Mentions Clinton twice and gives a leading role to the WTO (as it receives its “baptism of fire”)  El MUNDO. Mentions Clinton once “he offers zero tariffs to the poorer countries and dialogue to the demonstrators”. Next headline: “The ridiculous protests before the WTO”. – Memo: “Condescension” & “Normalization of violence”? (Opotow y Weiss, 2000)  El PAÍS. + stakeholders: the Vatican (which “accuses the “powers” of indifference”), the demonstrators (as protagonists who “sharpen their irony”)… –ABC & EL MUNDO: “Denial of stakeholder inclusion”?  ABC = 4  EL MUNDO= 8  EL PAÍS = 8

19 Natural Resources :  “As far as the environment is concerned, the demonstrators hold the World Trade Organization responsible for the fact that the poor countries have to continue pillaging their natural resources to survive…” “Demonstrators sharpen their irony”. Messages of protest on the banners :  “The turtles say no to the WTO”  “The butterflies say no to the WTO”  “The dolphins say no to the WTO”…  “The ecological family is opposed to the WTO”… EL PAÍS Editorial: People and Commerce. “the civilian society has invaded Seattle… it is not something which interests or concerns solely businessmen or politicians, but a great number of people, as Clinton himself has been forced to recognise due to the pressure of these events.”

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