Advertising isThe New York Times and the “Beleaguered People of Louisiana”: Communicating the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill as a Social Disaster
Mat Hope, University of Bristol
This paper presents the results of a frame analysis of the New York Times’ reporting of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of April, 2010. Applying a model of the framing process influenced by Goffman (1975) and Nerlich and Clarke (2000) (among others), the analysis looks at how a social-disaster narrative of the event was constructed, and how it developed over time. It looks at how the disaster was interpreted, who was held responsible and why, and how such reporting affects the public’s perception of their relationship with the environment. It is found that the New York Times primarily constructed a narrative around the ‘beleaguered people of Louisiana’, rather than focussing on the environmental fallout of the spill. Furthermore, they located blame most prominently with President Obama and his administration. Consequently, they promoted a narrative which further entrenches the public’s position as a ‘user’ rather than ‘inhabitant’ of their environment.
Keywords: BP oil spill, media narratives
Reconsidering Photo-Journalism in the Face of Climate Change
Ulrike Heine, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany
In my paper I will argue that media reporting on climate change has been accompanied by a new understanding of photojournalism. Exchanging the role of an observer for an agent in the process, the photojournalist has been taking on the role of a climate activist.
To illustrate this shift I will analyse two projects: “Consequences” and “Solutions”. These photo documentaries were produced on the occasion of the COPs in 2009 and 2010. They consist of several series shot by photojournalists working for the picture agency NOOR. Examining climate change from multiple perspectives, these projects are meant as calls for action.
My analysis will be based on a comparative investigation of the projects’ visual and textual elements as well as on interviews that I have conducted with the photojournalists involved. I will discuss how the transformation is reflected in both, their work and professional self-imaging – and its interrelation with the topic of climate change.
Keywords: visualising climate change, photojournalism, media transformation, journalistic activism
Advertising Environmental Change?
Jenny Alexander, Bournemouth University
Advertising is the aesthetic communicative form of contemporary capitalism. Can it be used to address audiences as citizens? Can we promote a more sustainable world? This paper investigates examples of ad campaigns in the UK in the past two years, disseminated by the (previous) Government and campaigning organisations and concerned with environmental change, to consider the value, significance and modality of advertising environmental change.
Star/Poverty Space as Poverty-tainment
Michael Goodman and Christine Barnes, King’s College London
Bono has stated that ‘celebrity is a currency of a kind’. And, yet, how is this currency constructed, how does it circulate and to what effects? I argue here that, for almost all ‘caring celebrities’, being photographed or interviewed ‘in place’—those Othered places of poverty, disaster or conflict such as Darfur, India, the Congo and most recently Haiti—is paramount to the processes of creating celebrity currency in the fight against poverty and for environment/development in Africa and elsewhere. There are two main reasons for the constructions of these ‘landscapes’ of what we call ‘star/poverty space’ here: first, this celebrity tourism is designed to effect a spatial relations of care between the North and South, with the celebrity acting as ‘our’ active representatives in these places; the multiple juxtapositions and paradoxes of them/the Other, them/us, distance/closeness, in place/out of place, and glamour/poverty are developed to not only sell footage and magazines but to develop the capacities for ‘caring at a distance’ by media consumers. Second, the spectacular artefacts of these media-ted images and texts of celebrities in the other places of poverty serve to build the credibility and thus, expertise, of celebrities in order to facilitate the effectiveness and authority of their voice to the benefit of the charities and causes they front. Here, celebrities become our contemporary muses, paradoxically speaking privileged truth to/through privileged power through the contradictory creation and dissemination of ‘poverty-tainment’.