Environmental concern and the Swedish press: a case study of the effects of newspaper reporting, personal experience and social interaction on the public's perception of environmental risks

Geoffrey D. Gooch

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent studies have shown that concern for the environment is widespread and persistent in many countries, both rich and poor. However, the origins and scope of this concern can differ between different individuals, groups and societies, depending on whether the concern stems from perceived global degradation, or from personally experienced unsatisfactory local living conditions. Regional newspapers have been credited with an important role in the dissemination of environmental concern, especially at the local level. In this study, the types of environmental issues reported in the press, and the results of a survey of citizen concern with specific environmental problems, are examined. The results show that the alleged agenda-setting role of the regional newspapers in environmental issues is nor pronounced, and demonstrate that personal experience of local environmental problems, interpersonal communication and levels of trust for news sources; may have more substantial effects on the public's perceptions of local environmental risks than information communicated through the press. The idea of territory, and the obtrusiveness of environmental problems, are then used to explain the weak role of the regional press in influencing public saliency of environmental problems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)107-127
    Number of pages21
    JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

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