Analysis of mass media news on forest issues: a case study of Spain

Miguel Fabra-Crespo, Eduardo Rojas-Briales


Aim of study. The aim of this paper is to analyze how the news media influences the construction of the social perception of forests and forestry.

Area of study. The area covered by this study is Spain.

Material and Methods. The materials used for the analysis were the online news related to items such as forest, bioenergy and biodiversity, in two leading newspapers in Spain from 2009 to 2012. The hypotheses tested were divided into two sets, one focused on the messages and another focused on the sources on these messages. Summative content analysis was applied, combining both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The messages and sources were systematically explored and monitored.

Main results: As main results, forest wildfires news is the most frequent issue mentioned in the media, however they require deeper reflection and debate. Keywords such as forest management, owners, harvesting, products, etc. are rarely found anymore; furthermore, new terms such as biomass, are not yet prevalent. On sources, official institutions, primarily the regional governments, dominate the news sources with a share of over 50%.

Research highlights: Mass media analysis is considered the most appropriate complement for perception studies as it provides relevant basic information needed to design a communication plan. Further research is required on the role mass media plays in how we perceive and react to the environmental problems around us.

Keywords: summative content analysis; policy analysis; ATLAS.ti; biomass; protected areas.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015242-06381