California, the fifth largest economy in the world (LA times 2018: n.p; Fuller 2018: n.p) has committed to complying with international climate change treaties and agreements including the 2016 Paris Agreement (UNFCC 2017: n.p). Cities and regional actors need to share critical information to mitigate climate change locally and newspapers are a conduit of climate change information sharing. Using Media Dependency Theory and tenets of discourse analysis, I show how local economic conditions and governing factors impact the media and problematize the reporting of climate change risk and information. This study contributes to development studies broader investigation into the impacts of climate change on specific localities and the role of hegemonic economic systems and values in the dissemination of climate change information. This paper situates the framing of neoclassical economic values that underpin American society’s beliefs, language and culture, which influences societal actors including the private sector, civil society, and media. This research paper analyzes the language local newspapers in two Southern California coastal cities use to construct the discourse of climate change that is disseminated to the communities they serve. The study finds that local economic modalities influence how media shapes the language and information of climate change. The implications of these findings contribute to discourse analysis, climate change and newspaper literature which has previously been limited to quantitative studies attempting to relationship between the two. By noting the nuanced and triangulated context of local American power structures that require contextualized ground up approaches to disseminate climate change-based risk and information. Additionally, findings can aid in developing local city-led strategies for climate change mitigation/ adaptation efforts as well as strengthen readers’ awareness of newspapers framing of climate change language.

climate change, Southern California, framing, newspapers, economics, language, coastal cities, media dependency theory, discourse analysis
Mukhtarov, Farhad
Governance and Development Policy (GDP)
International Institute of Social Studies

Moniz, Jonathan. (2019, December 20). A case study of Southern California coastal cities and the significance of economic framing in newspaper reporting on climate change. Governance and Development Policy (GDP). Retrieved from