Convergence and Divergence: The Evolution of Climate Change Frames Within and Across Public Events

Yingying Chen, Kjerstin Thorson, John Lavaccare


The framing of climate change in the news over time plays a crucial role in shaping public understanding of the issue. This study examines variation in the framing of climate change in global news media across 12 high-attention climate events from 2012 to 2015. We show that events and journalistic practice interact to generate a mix of frames that collectively construct climate change discourse. Using topic modeling and network analysis, we identified six frames used in the media coverage of climate during this period. We trace the usage of these frames and show that framings related to policy struggles and economic concerns have become the “default” framing of climate change across news media. Other framings of the climate issue appear only when particular public events happen. The findings suggest that frame evolution is a socially constructed process influenced by journalistic routines and triggering events.


frame changing, topic modeling, news frames, climate change

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