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Image Themes and Frames in US Print News Stories about Climate Change


Research on frames in climate change (CC) news coverage has advanced substantially over the past decade, but the emerging understanding of the framing role of visual imagery that often accompanies news texts remains fragmented. We report on a set of image frames identified through content analysis of 350 images associated with 200 news articles from 11 US newspaper and magazine sources from 1969 through late 2009. We reliably identified and quantified the occurrence of 118 image themes. We then hierarchically clustered the themes based on their co-occurrence in images to identify an integrated framework of 42 image frames. We highlight frames associated with particular types of images (e.g., photographs and maps) or geographic regions. From among the full set of frames, we identify 15 that commonly appear in US CC news imagery and discuss the ways in which image frames make salient (or render invisible) particular categories of people, geographic regions, aspects of science, and spheres of activity.

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