Journalistic Narratives of Success and Failure at the Bali Climate Change Conference in 2007





Intercultural Communication Studies;20 (2)


The International Association for Intercultural Communication Studies



This article investigates how journalists employed pre-defined culturally grounded meta-narratives and genres in journalistic communication of climate change at the Bali summit in 2007. The journalists investigated in this article are found to have constructed a variety of “protagonists”. The most typical is based on the representative from a “tiny” state that stood up to the “most powerful nation on earth”. Other varieties place the protagonists and helpers firmly within longer, well-known national narratives on nation and its role in the world. The constant ingredient in almost all narratives seems to be the construction of the “opponent”, with the USA universally portrayed as the opponent who has to be defeated in order for the desired goal to be achieved. A large majority of journalists in this selection systematically chose to construct narratives conforming to pre-defined genres, structuring and framing the information according to historically constructed notions of what the audience want. The need to construct a “good story” took precedence over the critical ideal of “informing society”. From a critical realism perspective, this is problematic because ontology must have priority over epistemology.


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