Study details and results

  1. Theoretical Background
  2. Research Question & Hypothesis
  3. Method
  4. Outlook
  5. Working Papers and Publications
  6. Teaching on Climate Change Communication

Theoretical Background

• Journalists as interpretive community (Zelizer, 1993)

• Frames as patterns of interpretation and presentation (Gitlin 1980)

• Three types of frames:

− Generic frames: interpretations across topics (Semetko and Valkenburg, 2000)

− Issue-specific frames: problem definitions on a specific topic (Entman 1993)

− Master frames: concepts that integrate issue-specific frames (Benford and Snow 1992)

• From “agenda-setting” and “agenda-sending” (Blumler and Gurevitch, 1995) to frame-setting and frame-sending

Research Questions and Hypothesis

RQ1: What and how do journalists contribute to news frames?

RQ2: How do journalists interpret climate change? (journalist frames)

RQ3: How do journalists present climate change? (news frames)


H1: They provide us with their personal interpretations of issues. (frame-setting)

H2: They echo the frames from influential actors. (frame-sending)


Research design:

• Online survey to measure journalist frames

• Content analysis to measure news frames


• Holistic approach to measure generic frames

• Modular approach to measure issue-specific frames (causes, problems, and solutions)


• Climate journalists: Authors of articles on climate change at leading news outlets (elite, regional, and popular press, online) in CH, DE, GB, IN, US (N = 64)

• Their print and online articles published in 2011 and 2012 (N = 750).

Data analysis:

• First- and second-order principal component analyses to identify issue-specific frames

• Bivariate correlations and (hierarchical) multiple linear regression analysis to identify relations between journalist frames and news frames.

Empirical Model



• Climate journalists as interpretive community connected by common frames

• Different degrees of frame-setting and frame-sending in different contexts

• Journalistic “frame freedom” depends on how journalist frames fit to…

– editorial guidelines

– journalistic routines

– public/elite opinion (conflicts/consensus on climate change)

Working Papers and Publications

Teaching on Climate Change Communication

All courses were held at the University of Zurich.