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Saturday, September 14 • 4:46pm - 6:30pm
“The Northern Gateway Pipeline Debate: Mapping Media Frames, Risk Perceptions, and Voting Preferences in a Risk Society”

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Research connecting the role of media framing and risk perceptions is sparse and controversial; very little has delved into the role of new media specifically. This term paper is a hypothetical research proposal written for a Masters degree Communications methodology course. The aim of the proposal is to brings new media and geolocation into the fold of risk communication analysis by using the timely example of the Northern Gateway Pipeline project as it evolves into an election platform for the Province of British Columbia. Drawing on the framework of Kasperon and Kasperson’s (1996) theory of risk amplification and attenuation, and referencing state-of-the-art studies in correlating new media activity to public opinion using geolocation and surveying techniques, I argue the case for a triangulation of mixed methodologies that would allow researchers to make strong, compelling inferences about the role of media framing on risk perception, and further on risk perceptions and voting preferences as a form of risk mitigation. By first conducting a computer mediated discourse analysis on text-based new media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, followed with a matched critical discourse analysis of local, provincial, and national media coverage of the Northern Gateway Pipeline it is possible to determine the location and type of risk framing produced in specific regions around the province by both media outlets and members of the public. By polling citizens in these regions, specifically those who reside near the proposed pipeline route and those who do not, media consumption, voting preferences, and risk perceptions can also be observed. Finally, the three layers of analyses can be mapped to determine if risk perceptions match the framing style of media produced in the Province, as well as to specific types of media consumed. Following the election, voting preferences and risk perceptions can be matched to actual candidate selections by location to verify the consistency of the results. I conclude by arguing that a hybridized approach geolocating new and traditional media with participant self-reporting can provide insight into the functioning of Beck’s (1994) risk society in situ, and that the more forms of research that contribute to this paradigm the better the academic community can trace and understand the genealogy of risk, allowing access to the ideological premises that politicize risk today.


Amanda Oldring

Research Assistant, Simon Fraser University
I study social media and risk communication in the context of disaster mitigation. My current work explores how the structure of pre-disaster warning networks in Twitter. | | I also moonlight as an IT Consultant/SharePoint developer, am an avid hiker, and generally enjoy living in the West Coast. | | I am hoping to meet new people and to learn from their work, as well as to share my ideas with others who have similar interests.

Saturday September 14, 2013 4:46pm - 6:30pm
Rowe Atrium

Attendees (4)