Recognizing the inevitable: Latvian media narratives about climate change

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Media are essential mediators in transmitting, framing, and embedding the attitudes towards climate change, and they are not neutral mediators. Informed by the strategic narrative framework and cascading activation framing model, we aim to discover climate change narratives as projected by Latvian media. We account for the diversity of Latvian media narratives produced in Latvian and Russian-speaking traditional and digital media, using qualitative content analysis of around 200 media articles, video and audio broadcasts from August 2020 till January 2021. We analyse data using a unified coding protocol, focusing on such elements of narrative structure as actors, scene, action, and time. Our findings indicate that climate change has emerged as a topic in Latvian media, though the Latvian-speaking media outlets pay considerably higher attention to it than the Russian-speaking ones. In the majority of cases, climate change appears either as a primary or secondary theme, predominantly evaluated negatively. Yet in one-third of cases, climate change receives neutral assessment. Its impact on the environment is the dominant thematic frame, followed by economic implications and international efforts to mitigate climate change. In half of the cases, journalists tell the story about climate change in relation to Latvia. Out of them, half are personified, depicting local actors and 24728982. Latvia is evaluated positively or neutrally, though in one-sixth of the cases a negative evaluation is provided. We assess that the ‘recognition’ narrative is the dominant narrative in the Latvian media. It underlines that climate change is real and takes place. Less popular is the narrative that climate change is an opportunity for Latvia’s economy. An apocalyptic narrative that the world will cease to exist as a result of climate change gets only minor visibility; it is, in most cases, refuted by the narrative that one can save the world.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021
EventRSU Research week 2021: PLACES - Rīga, Latvia
Duration: 25 Mar 202125 Mar 2021
Conference number: 2


ConferenceRSU Research week 2021: PLACES
Abbreviated titleRW2021
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 5.6 Political science

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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