Framing nitrogen pollution in the British press: 1984-2018

Angela Zottola, Dimitrinka Atasanova, Emma Cardwell, John Forrester, Stevens Carly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Awareness of the risks posed by excess nitrogen is low beyond the scientific community. As public understanding of scientific issues is partly influenced by news reporting, this article is the first to study how the British press has discussed nitrogen pollution. A corpus-assisted frame analysis of newspaper articles (1984–2018) highlighted five frames: Activism, where environmental charities and organizations are portrayed as having an active role in fighting pollution; Government Responsibility, where privatization is presented as central and positioned as one of the main causes of pollution; Industry Responsibility, in which industries’ actions are depicted as causing pollution to increase; Pollutions as Politics, in which pollution is not discussed as a problem to be solved but rather as a means to increase votes; and Risk, where readers are warned about the possible effects of pollution on human health, flora and fauna. The analysis also points to the absence of named scientists and sources with the coverage being dominated by politicians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-103
Number of pages20
JournalDiscourse and Communication
Issue number1
Early online date16 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Ammonia
  • British press
  • corpus-assisted frame analysis
  • environmental issues
  • framing
  • nitrates
  • nitrogen pollution


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