Local Media Coverage of Environmental Conflict: The Klamath River Basin
Robinson, Jocelyn D
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This is a study of a content analysis of newspaper coverage from the Klamath River Basin conflict over water allocation in 2001 and 2002. The conflict boiled down to the question of who had right to the limited water in the basin - the farmers or the fish? The print media plays a role in policy agenda-setting, and communication literature suggests community newspapers tend to reflect the structure and norms of the cities and towns in which they are based. I analyzed two newspapers in the communities most involved in the conflict: the Herald and News in Klamath Falls, Ore., an agricultural community; and the Times-Standard in Eureka, Calif., which covers the fishing and tribal communities along the lower Klamath River. Did the Herald and News use more pro-agriculture frames, reflecting the community in which it is based? Did the Times-Standard use more pro-salmon frames? A regional paper, The Oregonian in Portland, Ore., was also examined to see if its physical distance from either community meant it used more neutral frames. The study examined articles written during the peak of the conflict, March-September 2001 and March-October 2002. Results suggest that there is a link between newspaper and frames, but it is most strongly seen in the Times-Standard, the lower river newspaper, which used almost twice as many pro-salmon frames as pro-agriculture frames as did the Herald and News or The Oregonian.
- Marine affairs