Counting on Numbers : Air Pollution, Risk, Residents and Local Media

University essay from Lunds universitet/Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap; Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kommunikation och medier

Abstract: This research investigates the construction of air pollution as a risk in local media. The aim of this paper is to map the factors influencing the reporting and response to the risk. As method, a case study and qualitative content analysis of local newspapers in Kraków is used. The first part of the thesis consists of a review of research on environmental risks in media. Further on, an overview of the scope of the theoretical toolbox is presented. Then a summary of the methodological approach, including emphasis on the importance of the case study and a description of social constructionism, is provided. In the following chapter the characteristic Ethnographic Content Analysis is described. Further on, results and an analysis of the material are presented. The conclusion of the paper is that air pollution and its management are constructed in media through a set of numbers and that the stress in the publications is put on the state’s responsibility and existing regulations. The media’s content is influenced by empowered citizens’ support of this way of looking at air pollution. On the one hand the focus on the numbers explains the existing situation, on the other it oversimplifies the problem of air pollution and corrupts the results of citizens’ engagement.

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