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Publication Detail
Applying content analysis for investigating the reporting of water issues
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Altaweel M, Bone C
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    599, 613
  • Journal:
    Computers, Environment and Urban Systems
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
This article presents a content analysis approach for contextualizing the reporting of water and water-related issues. The intent of our approach is to enable an understanding of how important environmental topics such as water-related issues are presented to the public, and thus potentially influencing public perceptions on the issues. Multiple statistical and analytical methods are integrated in order to analyze online newspapers articles to evaluate the context, regionalism and relevance of the reporting of water issues. Using 10 online newspapers from Nebraska, USA, the content analysis approach revealed that water is most often reported in the state in the context of agriculture, while other topics such as water quality and habitat are less frequently discussed. Second, there is a lack of spatial dependency in the reporting of water across Nebraska as newspapers in close proximity to one another do not demonstrate similar reporting. Finally, the reporting of water in some newspapers is noticeably linked to local daily water quantity observations. These results suggest that, although the topic of water as an environmental issue may be vitally important across a region, the context of how water issues are reported is driven by local issues and, in some cases, relevant physical processes. Results show that there is a relative lack of coverage on major water and environmental issues except when issues are of immediate public concern. We discuss how these results could be used by resource managers to interpret media content and the public's understanding of important environmental topics. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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