The environment does not speak for itself, except for when it has been degraded. The images of devastations communicate to us about the relationship between humans and the environment. This relationship, for better or worse, plays a powerful role in how we handle and dispose waste, how we treat or react to oil spill, how we perceive climate change, what types of environmental laws are enacted, and our health status.
Equally obvious is the fact that environmental issues tend to be overlooked, downplayed, or under-reported in the media. The paucity in coverage, some would argue, is a result of media operatives and practitioners who tend to shy aware from environmental stories because they are not glamorous enough; or most journalists are ill equipped with the skills to effectively report about the environment. Either way, it is undeniable that the media plays, or ought to play, a role in providing the public worlds of information about nature and the environment and, in the process, may set agenda for conversations that might lead to its preservation. What this means is that media reports and the framing of news about the environment can create world of possibilities and may create new relationships that would influence a mindset aimed at protecting and preserving the environment.
Clearly, it is not possible for students and advocates of the environment to fully understand the interactions between humans and their environment without exploring some of the contexts that influence interpretations of environment and associated issues. One major contributor to this discourse is how environmental issues are framed and/or constructed in the media. It is the basis for which this assignment was designed to help you explore and evaluate how media coverage creates or reconstructs environmental issues. So, in NO MORE than five (5) pages, write a paper that captures the essence of this assignment (your 45-page narrative does not include the Works Cited or References page) and provides a critical assessment of how the media has influenced, or continues to influence, our understanding and perceptions of the way(s) we relate with the environment. In your paper, you may want to explore how the media coverage affects specific attitudes or behavior toward ONE environmental issue (selected from the topics listed on pages 2-3 of this document). If possible, your paper should also discuss or identify some of the characteristic features of media coverage that particularly influenced your perceptions and relationship with the environment.
The following directions are intended to assist you in reviewing and selecting the topic you need to use for your analysis:
Research current library archives to assemble scholarly articles on how the U.S. news media covered, or covers, the environmental issue you chose.
Also, review news archives for articles published in U.S. newspapers and magazines on the topic you chose.
Review the articles (scholarly and popular press) to fish out information relevant to your topic.
Make notes of the relevant information, including sources that would be included in your References or Works Cited page.
Begin writing a draft of your paper, followed by rewrites and edits to meet your standards.