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Shared Spaces or Separate Meanings? Mediated Communication as a Globalizing Force Open Access

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Scholars of political communication have viewed globalization as a process fostered by changing media systems and communication technologies. They have held that the emerging media systems can promote a more de-territorialized and re-territorialized socio-economic and political space--a global public sphere. Yet, even with this growing wealth of discourse, quantitative data on the nature and amount of changes in actual media content are surprisingly scarce. This dissertation provides comparative research across nations and over time, examining whether transnational media are truly offering citizens the shared information and knowledge about those beyond their own domestic borders that would foster a global public sphere. To test these questions, this research employs framing theory to analyze the coverage of two UN climate-change conferences held a dozen years apart in leading newspapers of four English-speaking nations, all with liberal-model media systems. Specifically, the research examines how the balance of these national outlets' coverage varied over time between domestic and international or global perspectives, and the use of state and non-state actors as sources. Additionally, the study examines the levels and types of homogeneity and heterogeneity of the framing and sourcing of news content between the nations and over time. While at first look, the findings reveal changes that would suggest the media is moving toward this more globalized news model, closer examination demonstrates the strength of traditional news norms to restrain true transformation. Importantly, the findings demonstrate the continued dominance of elite news sources, a great source of stability in news framing.

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