Environmental Communication

Module code: MS3003

From climate change, fracking, and pollution of the environment to genetic modification and the safety of our food, the media are a major source of public information about everyday risks.

Public images and understanding are drawn not only from ‘expert’ advice and information in news, documentary and factual media output, but from the vast pool of cultural constructions of fear and environmental risk in film, advertising and entertainment media.

This module studies how public communication draws from deep-seated popular culture images to provide the context through which public risks, popular fears, and public and expert knowledge are constructed, represented and mediated, including increasingly through social media.

Topics covered

  • Environmental journalism
  • Strategic communication
  • Disaster and risk communication
  • Source power in the new media landscape
  • Environmental pressure group campaigning
  • Government and corporate/industry spin
  • The social and mediated construction of environmental issues
  • Narrative, visual and rhetorical strategies in environmental debate
  • Credibility, ‘evidence’, accuracy and balance in public communication
  • Uses of ‘nature/the natural’ in advertising and news
  • Climate change communication
  • Environmental issues and public/political controversy
  • Genetic modification and food safety controversies

Learning

  • 11 hours of lectures
  • 22 hours of seminars 
  • 1 hour of tutorials
  • 116 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Essay, 2,700 words (55%)
  • Presentation (20%)
  • Critical analysis of a piece of public environmental communication, 1,000 words (25%)