Graduation Date

Summer 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Anthony Silvaggio

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Nikola Hobbel

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

John Meyer

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


In the past news and media were disseminated through channels that were difficult for consumers to communicate with. Now a new form of news dissemination is taking place on the internet where communication between consumers and producers exists. Crowdsourced social media sites, where users elect and vote on articles and comments to represent a topic, are creating new forms of news dissemination, which heavily alters media content, and community discussions. This study was conducted in order to better understand how crowdsourced social media platforms affect users’ perception of environmental topics, issues, and problems. It focuses on the crowdsourced social media platform Reddit evaluating the top 100 articles within the subreddit titled r/environment. The methods used in this study include secondary data analysis, archival research of online forums, and social network analysis. Most articles analyzed discussed the topic of politics, including President Trump and his administration’s environmental policies, as well as a lack of transparency related to environmental policies in general. Many of the comments responded to these articles by discussing politics. Findings also included a perception that monetary and social capital must be present for individuals to facilitate wide scale, meaningful environmental change. Issues such as ecological changes only accounted for 2 percent of overall crowdsourced articles. Overall, this study found an encouraging message in the articles and comments indicating support for global environmental activism. More research on how communities interpret environmental news is needed to broaden our understanding of peoples’ interpretations of environmental policies and their representation in crowdsourced and legacy media.

Citation Style