Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in English, emphasis in Literary & Cultural Studies

Committee Chair Name

Janelle Adsit

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Deidre Pike

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



This project analyses digital and broadcast news media coverage of the Fourth National Climate Assessment in order to get a sense of ethos constructions in climate communication. The project provides a comparative rhetorical analysis of a range of online print news stories, and two broadcast segments, while coding and categorizing the different authority figures cited or appealed to. By categorizing figures of authority and analyzing the results through a lens of epistemic injustice, and with a more ecological approach to ethos, the findings suggest a need for more expansive and inclusive representations of climate change in mainstream media. The results suggest that ethos in climate communication is frequently framed in binaries, particularly that of the scientific establishment versus the current political establishment. By illuminating these binaries, the analysis points to omissions and other rhetorical failings that exclude the testimony and epistemologies of a wider and more diverse range of people—specifically focusing on marginalized communities, climate refugees, and environmental justice advocates. As the project’s findings show, there is a need to reshape and reconceptualize ethos in these spaces to be more reflective of a range of social and cultural perspectives that have bearing on our collective understanding of the problem, and which are crucial to collective solutions moving forward.

Citation Style


Included in

Rhetoric Commons