New Publication: Study on Sourcing Trends of Climate Change Editorials

Environmental Communication published on January 6, 2021, new research on climate change by FSU School of Communication doctoral candidate Christopher Garcia and Professor Jennifer Proffitt.

Their study,  titled “Elite Company: Sourcing Trends in 2014-2017 Prestige Press Climate Change Editorials,” examined the sourcing practices of climate change editorials published by several high-profile newspapers between 2014 to 2017.

Garcia and Proffitt found that news outlets prioritized the opinions of elite political and economic actors over those with scientific training. They also found that newspapers have a shared interest in politicizing scientific debate.

“Given the highly partisan nature of today’s political climate, it was fascinating to trace the way in which prestigious newspapers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal used similar methods of sourcing to politicize news discussions about climate change that often could be written without the use of combative sourcing techniques,” said Garcia.

“Our research demonstrates that, in light of the current climate crisis, news media must change the discourse from political debate to the need for collective action based on scientifically-driven solutions,” Proffitt said.

Garcia began this research while completing his master’s thesis. He was inspired by significant changes in leadership in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2017 and his own anxieties regarding climate change.

Garcia expressed gratitude as he welcomed the paper’s acceptance into Environmental Communication. “One of my own doctoral committee members, Dr. Andy Opel, highly recommended the journal given his own involvement at the inception of the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA). Thus, it felt reassuring and rewarding to be published in a venue that I knew had historically featured great environmentally-oriented researchers and scholarship.”

Garcia was also published in The Political Economy of Communication. His paper titled, “’Betting on Women:’ A Feminist Political Economic Critique of Ideology Sports Narratives Surrounding the WNBA” investigates women’s basketball and the struggles they encounter while trying to play domestically and internationally.

View Garcia and Proffitt’s paper in Environmental Communication here and read his paper in Political Economy of Communication here.