Nuclear Energy as “ green ” Energy: A Content Analysis of Nuclear Energy Frames From 1991 to 2008

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This fascinating and scholarly study analyzes the concept of framing in the context of nuclear energy. Framing is the tool used for highlighting information in order to perpetuate understanding within the body of a news story to fit the framer’s agenda on the topic. Dr. DiPalma argues that the manner in which mass media “frames” nuclear energy news stories compromises the end readers understanding of the true risks and true rewards of this “green” energy source and undermines appropriate and necessary public policy debate on this issue.


“Dr. DiPalma’s research represents a clear-headed look at the way the prestige press has covered questions concerning nuclear energy. We, as a society, will soon have to answer tough questions about how we wish to deal with our increasing and seemingly insatiable desire for energy…the question at hand is about competing risks…”
-Mark D. West, Ph.D.,
Professor Mass Communication

“This is a compelling book that is important both theoretically and practically. Dr. DiPalma conducts a methodologically rigorous framing analysis of media coverage of nuclear energy, and she shows that the nature and tone of coverage has changed over time due to various factors. In addition to being a prime example of how to conduct a framing analysis the practical outcome of the study is quite important as well, because it once again reminds us of the rather substantial role the news media plays in shaping public discourse and deliberation on important topics such as nuclear energy. So, anyone who reads this will get a great education regarding “how to” conduct a framing examination, while also absorbing valuable insight as they contemplate the larger question of the impact news media have in forming and molding the landscape of public opinion on major sociopolitical issues.”
-Frank E. Dardis, Ph.D.,
College of Communications,
Pennsylvania State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Mark West, Ph.D., Professor UNC – Asheville, NC
Chapter One: Agenda Setting and Framing Theory
Agenda setting
Types of Frames
Framing Effects and Public Opinion
Interpretative Schemas
Applying Framing Theory
Research Questions
Chapter Two: Methodology
Content Analysis
Coding procedure
Coder Training
Intercoder Reliability
Chapter Three: Results
Statistical Analysis
General Exploratory Findings
Results – Research Question One
Results – Research Question Two
Results – Research Question Three
Results – Research Question Four
Results – Research Question Five
Results – Research Question Six
Results – Research Question Seven
Chapter Four : Discussion
Theoretical Implications
Practical Implications
Directions for Future Research
Appendix A – Original framing study codebook
Appendix B – Final framing study codebook

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