Publication Date

Summer 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Journalism and Mass Communications


William Tillinghast


Climate Change, Framing, Global Warming

Subject Areas

Mass Communications


This thesis examined how climate change has been framed in four major news magazines--Maclean's, Newsweek, The Economist, and U.S. News and World Report--over the past 20 years. We looked at a number of framing elements, including primary frames, depth of coverage, framing the science, sources of information, section placement, and verbiage. A content analysis of 476 articles was performed. Articles included in the sample appeared in one of the four news magazines during the years 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009 and included at least one sentence devoted to climate change. We found that the most predominant primary frame used to cover climate change was the political-economic frame. We also noted a shift away from framing the science as neutral towards a valid science frame.