Mapping the minds of the mediators: The cognitive frames of climate journalists from five countries (2016)


This article is based on the premise that journalists play an important role as mediators of scientific information and their interpretations of climate change influence media debates and public opinion. The study maps the minds of climate journalists from five different countries (Germany, India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and different types of leading media outlets. It identifies five cognitive frames that vary between attributing the responsibility for climate change to lobbying and national interests, blaming consumerist culture and the capitalist system, and expressing technological optimism. The study provides evidence for the emergence of a sustainability frame, indicates a “blame game” between industrialized countries and emerging economies, and shows the demand for a global ecological discourse. Finally, it explores how individual factors such as specialization, professional aims, and political alignment correlate with the cognitive frames of journalists.

Engesser, Sven; Brüggemann, Michael (2015): Mapping the minds of the mediators. The cognitive frames of climate journalists from five countries. In Public Understanding of Science 25 (7), pp. 825–841. Available online at