Voices in the Storm: The Lost Discourse of Climate Change in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

B.F. Battistoli, Theresa King, Elizabeth White

Abstract


This study sought to answer the research question: How did media address climate change in reporting on Hurricanes Harvey and Irma? A content analysis was performed on the coverage of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma over a six-week timeframe by two national newspapers, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and two local newspapers, the Houston Chronicle for Hurricane Harvey and the Tampa Bay Times for Hurricane Irma. A keyword analysis yielded 630 news articles (N=630), of which only 23 (3.65%) mentioned “climate change,” “global warming,” or both. Language that addressed these terms was coded on a Likert Scale (0-5, negative to positive), yielding a median score of 3.44, “slightly positive.” An extensive literature review and discussion of the findings and implications for future research are included.

Keywords


Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, climate change, global warming, newspaper content analysis.

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