Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results
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17th Conference IAPS-2002. Environmental Problems through the Spanish Press: Methodological issues and preliminary results. B . Cortés*, M ª Amérigo*, J .I. Aragonés# y V . Sevillano# * Dpto . Psicología. Universidad de Castilla- La Mancha

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Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

17th Conference IAPS-2002

Environmental Problemsthrough 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


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

Outline

Theoretical

background

The Qualitative

Study Design

Preliminary Results

New direction of this

qualitative inquiry


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)

Theoretical Background


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

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)


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

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”.

  • 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)


The qualitative study design

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?


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

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


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

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.

Sampling Frame

  • Exclusion Criteria

  • Articles related to production or judicial conflicts about agriculture or cattle

  • Advertising and comic strips

  • News related to historical-artistic heritage

  • Suplements from Autonomous Comunities


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

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


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%)

Early Steps in Analysis


Preliminary results

Preliminary Results

Fr = 48%

Particular

persistence in

newspaper

coverage

  • Analysis of the 5 most frequently used keywords

Frecuency Analysis


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

  • New codes

    (straightforward

    category label)

    = more than 50

    mentions

Frecuency


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

genetic research-land speculation

electrical failure

Lexical

Analysis:

The

global

Structure

(SPAD)

floods

WTO

EL PAÍS

nuclear energy

Development-

Welfare State

NHPlan

nuclear arms-hurricane-

stormy weather

ABC

EL MUNDO

dangerous combustion

toxic emissions

storm

natural disasters

greens

wind-

animals

single sky

AIDS-conservation of nature-tobacco


Comparative lexical analysis 1999 2001

conservation of nature-

animals-

natural disasters

1999

Comparativelexicalanalysis: 1999 & 2001

tobacco

EL MUNDO

nuclear energy

nuclear energy

poverty

AIDS

genetic research

EL PAÍS

floods

mad cows

foot & mouth

disease

NHP

radiations

fox hunting

wind-

renewable energy-greens

land speculation

WTO

WTO

WTO

envir-defense

EL MUNDO

rain

EL PAÍS

dangerous combustion

electrical failure

Toxic wasre

earthquake

ABC

single sky

nuclear weapons

depletion of species

depletion of species

2001

population inequality

forest-toxic products

volcano

forest-

volcano

development

hurricane-

pardoning of debt

pardoning of debt

ABC

Storm-toxic emissions- Welfare State


New direction of this qualitative inquiry

New Directionof 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


Example

  • ABC = 4

  • EL MUNDO= 8

  • EL PAÍS = 8

EXAMPLE:

  • Analysis of database:

    headlines from the three newspapers

  • 1st. date in December ´99 (2-12-99)

  • 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”?


Environmental problems through the spanish press methodological issues and preliminary results

NaturalResources :

“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 2-12-99

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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