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Article
Proximity and Journalistic Practice in Environmental Discourse: Experiencing “Job Blackmail” in the News
Discourse and Communication (2015)
  • Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Justin Mando, Carnegie Mellon University
Abstract
The shift from coal to natural gas to fuel electricity generation has positive (environmental) and
negative (economic) consequences for people in the affected areas of the US. Representations
of the situation in the media shape how citizens understand and respond to it. We explore
the role of proximity in media discourse about the closing of a coal-fired power plant near
Waynesburg, a small city in a Pennsylvania coal-mining region. Comparing reporting in smallercirculation
newspapers closer to the site with reporting in larger-circulation regional newspapers,
we find that Waynesburg-area papers simply describe the events leading to the closure while
regional papers analyze the events in larger contexts, and that politicians, not the plant owners,
are represented as blaming environmentalists for job loss. Our findings point to the importance
of proximity in environmental discourse and to the need to examine not only what kinds of
discourse circulate, but also how and to whom.
Keywords
  • coal,
  • power plant,
  • Pennsylvania,
  • newspaper,
  • Hatfield's Ferry,
  • Washington County PA,
  • Greene County PA
Publication Date
2015
Citation Information
Barbara Johnstone and Justin Mando. "Proximity and Journalistic Practice in Environmental Discourse: Experiencing “Job Blackmail” in the News" Discourse and Communication Vol. 9 Iss. 1 (2015)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/barbara_johnstone/59/