Press coverage of the Australian environment : a literature review
The Australian print media's reporting of the environment has never been more intense or important in the context of public policy debate than it is in 2007. The issues of global warming and climate change are scientifically complex for journalists to cover and pose unknown risk to the community. This type of media coverage is for removed from the early years of environmental conciousness in Australia during the late 1960's. At that time, the campaign to save a national icon, the Great Barrier Reef, from mining and oil exploration had grabbed media attention. The frequency, depth and quality of environ-mental reporting are often debated, but what emerges in a review of the literature is the way in which print media coverage of issues has changed during the past forty years. In anticipation of a detailed contemporary analysis, this chapter will trace those changes and identify patterns that have emerged in three time periods Doyle (2000) has acknowledged as representing different stages of environ-mentalism. The first period dates from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s; the second period covers from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s; and the third stage of environmentalism takes in the years from the mid 1990s to the present. Media coverage in these periods reflects the evolution of the environment movement and its campaigning strategies, a changing emphasis on problems of concern and the 'routinisation' of the environment as an issue.