Frames are cognitive organizational structures that break the world into understandable parts. Using frame analysis as the lens through which the public receives information about the environment provides insights about the general public understanding of conservation issues. Such analysis may also be helpful in teasing out how a potential threat to biodiversity is defined and shaped by media discourse and the stakeholders who are attempting to influence the structure of discourse. The central question of this research is how have the U.S. mass media framed the potential ecological risks from genetically engineered organisms? This research uses QSR NVivo (Version 2.0.163) software to explore this question through qualitative frame analyses of opinion-leading newspapers and stakeholders' documents surrounding the ecological risks of Bt corn pollen to monarch butterfly larvae. The newspaper coverage analyzed is from The New York Times and The Washington Post, which are both widely considered news leaders in the United States. In order to uncover major stakeholder frames, selected stakeholders' documents are examined to supplement and verify the analysis. Using these analyses, this research concludes with some insights about which frames are being reported or appropriated by media entities and how frame analysis enriches discussions and theory building about how risks are socially constructed, amplified, and disseminated through the cultural institution of the mass media.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2009. Major:Conservation Biology. Advisor: Philip J. Regal. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 343 pages, appendices A-D.
Rivers, Erika Renee Lindgren.
Framing ecological risk: mass media frames in the monarch butterfly / transgenic Bt corn case..
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