The Visual Framing of the Three Cycles of Climate Control in The New York Times 1851-2015

By Jason Thompson


This research explored the visual framing of climate control in The New York Times through three cycles of media history. Although no peer-reviewed study has explored this specific topic, a wealth of prior communication articles on both the visual and textual aspects of climate change and geoengineering in the media was mined in order to discover the frames present. Once the visual frames of climate control (war, fix, people, and impacts) were revealed a content analysis was conducted in order to see which frame elements were most and least frequent considering the images of climate control. When combining all three cycles the frame with the highest overall mean was the fix frame (M=1.7517, SD=1.34128) indicating that it is the most occurring climate control frame per image. The frame with the lowest overall mean was the war frame (M=.5137, SD=1.02544). Frame frequency from cycle to cycle was relatively constant since only the impacts frame had a significant mean difference between cycle one and cycle two (M= .72453, p= .042). This initial analysis did not provide support for Downs issue-attention cycle theory. Although when the frame element frequencies were graphed three spikes were separated by three valleys considering climate control imagery in The New York Times through about one and half centuries. This information can go towards making correlations with: events, exposure to certain stimuli, and judging effectiveness of communication strategies over time. The discussion considered whether currently the war and fix frames could be too small in order to produce effective communication with a distrustful public. Also the recent people frame increase correlates with non-acceptance regarding climate change considering Republicans.

Jason Thompson received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Law & Society from Winona State University and the International University Of Ulaanbaatar where he studied U.S.-Mongolian Foreign Relations 1860-1920. He also attended diesel and hybrid technology programs at Hennepin Technical College in Minnesota, foreign ambassadorship courses at Soonchunhyang University in the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and attained a positive leadership certificate at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. He has a Master of Arts degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he focused on how climate control was visually framed in the media using content analysis, enhanced weathering techniques that create power and control atmospheric carbon dioxide percentages using olivine powder and Sonics and high-energy x-ray applications. Jason has wrote for Diesel Power and The Costa Rica News.

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