Young climate activists in television news: An analysis of multimodal constructions of voice, political recognition, and co-optation

Tânia Santos, Mehmet Ali Uzelgun, Anabela Carvalho Alves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Young climate activists around the globe have been raising their voices against the inadequate response of world leaders to climate change. Mainstream media have an important role in bringing young people’s concerns to the public, but research has shown that, in some countries, news outlets have failed to adequately represent their political voice. In view of a prevailing depoliticization of climate change, this study focuses on Portugal’s television news reporting and examines whether and how youth climate activists are constructed as recognized actors in the politics of climate change. To explore the mechanisms of voice, we conduct a multimodal analysis of material from three open access channels: RTP1, SIC, and TVI. By analyzing 230 news pieces from 2018 to 2021 on youth climate activism, we investigate the different ways in which the youth are given voice and the specific settings in which they are presented. Findings reveal that while they are given voice, the dynamics that grant them recognition in various settings, such as street protests and institutional venues, also contribute to the recasting of their claims within the existing depoliticized agenda. As a result, in-depth discussions about their proposals for transformative change are hindered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-54
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Review
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Multimodal constructions
  • Television
  • Voice
  • Youth climate activism

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