Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Joan Deppa


Australia, Canada, Climate change, News coverage, Politics, United States

Subject Categories

Political Science


This study compares newspaper coverage of climate change and global warming during the national elections in Australia, Canada and the U.S. during 2007 and 2008. Using a census of newspaper coverage and in-depth interviews with reporters, editors and columnists in the three countries, the study confirmed the findings of earlier studies that the political agenda shapes the news agenda when it comes to climate change coverage. However, the study did find that coverage of general climate change stories continued during the election campaign periods in the three countries. Reporters who cover either politics or environmental issues or both found it difficult to make the connection in their stories between climate change concerns and the political debate, even in the case of the 2007 Australian and 2008 Canadian elections where climate change policy was a major issue. These problems highlight the need for newspapers to seriously reconsider how they approach coverage of climate change in general and in the political context by making more connections to related stories outside of the geographic area that they serve.


Open Access