Andrew Chater & Mathieu Landriault

In this paper, we study media representations of the Arctic Council in North American national newspapers. The Council is the Arctic region’s foremost international institution, charged to promote environmental protection and sustainable development. Past research on media and the Arctic has focused on public perceptions of the region and its issues. Research on the Council focuses on its role in regional governance. We find that the Council’s outreach efforts are reasonably successful, though there is room for improvement. The overall assessment of the Council in the media is positive and descriptions of its purpose are accurate. However, few articles focus on the Council explicitly. We examine 241 articles about the Council found in six national newspapers, all published between 1996 and 2016. Three measures direct our inquiry. First, the frequency of Council mentions and the occurrences of the Council as primary focus measures issue saliency. Second, descriptions of the Council evaluate whether reporting on the institution is positive and accurate. Third, opinion texts reveal whether editorials and guest columns on the Council are positive or negative. This chapter presents a case to understand the importance of media framing. We concluded that media attention for the Arctic Council increased after 2009, peaking between 2013 and 2015 and that the dominant framing in both countries is that the Arctic Council stands for co-operation amid tension.

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