Australia and New Zealand Communications Association Conference 2021

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

    Description

    Presented the paper: Comparing the visual representation of climate change: @everydayclimatechange and three US dailies. Instagram is emerging as a platform where the press’ representation of important social concerns such as climate change may be contested. This study compares the visual representation of climate change during the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21). Posts on the Instagram feed @everydayclimatechange are compared with images published in three legacy US daily newspapers: The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. The analysis is conducted from 29 November to 8 December 2015, the period when @everydayclimatechange posts featured COP21 related hashtags. COP21 has been the subject of scholarly research with an emphasis on written journalism, but this conference provides a rich source of images for a comparative analysis. The power of the press to direct the climate debate and influence policy is well documented, yet there has been scant scholarly attention paid to Instagram as a source of visual news. Research shows that in visualising the climate crisis, the legacy press draws on a limited range of images: cracked earth symbolises drought, cities shrouded in smog represent air pollution, and smokestacks illustrate debates on renewable energy. This limited visual selection is reflective of the cultural politics of climate change, where certain narratives are privileged over others resulting in a constructed and partial view of the problem (Boykoff, Goodman & Curtis 2010). The press’ climate change coverage is largely event focused with attention heightened during major political happenings or dramatic weather events. These concentrated periods of attention bestow celebrity status on climate change, which means climate change is also subjected to the short-lived interest associated with celebrity. @everydayclimatechange was established in 2015 by freelance photojournalists concerned with human-induced climate change. The feed’s objective is to broaden the narrative on climate change to convey that the crisis is impacting people around the world, everyday. This paper argues that Instagram, as a micro-blogging platform, provides photojournalists with an alternative publishing space through which to challenge the press’ hegemony over the visualisation of climate change. While Instagram is the focus of this study, the findings deliver important insights into the opportunity that digital networks provide to contest the press’ hegemony over critical social concerns.
    Period9 Jul 2021
    Event typeConference
    LocationMelbourne, Australia
    Degree of RecognitionInternational

    Keywords

    • Climate change
    • Media representation
    • Visual Journalism
    • Photojournalism
    • Instagram
    • Social Media