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dc.contributor.advisorFabien , Medvecky
dc.contributor.authorReid, Oscar Schouten
dc.date.available2020-08-10T22:59:22Z
dc.date.copyright2020
dc.identifier.citationReid, O. S. (2020). Sharks and New Zealand News Media (Thesis, Master of Science Communication). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/10244en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/10244
dc.description.abstractSharks could be the most feared animal in the world. They could also be the most misrepresented. Although traumatic, human-shark interactions are incredibly rare events. Yet historically, mass media disproportionately portray sharks as deadly and dangerous human killers through melodramatic headlines, sensationalised stories and overly graphic accounts. Previous studies by McCagh et al. (2015) and Fraser-Baxter and Medvecky (2018) used media discourse analysis to evaluate the role of the media during human-shark interactions and the ensuing development of shark policies. This study used similar methods, although adaptions were required to fit the New Zealand context. We sought to paint a broad picture of New Zealand’s shark discourse through news media outlets, analysing consistencies and changes within the discourse over time. Public opinion directly affects marine policy decision making, therefore by examining shark discourse within New Zealand, we identify what the New Zealand public have been exposed to. Our findings may offer ways forward in improving the adequate but less than ideal shark policy and management strategies in place. Data collection was achieved through automated and manual analyses. A text mining software called Leximancer was used for the automated analysis which determined the main themes and concepts of the text. A manual word search was used to determine frequencies of emotive and prescriptive terms for the manual analysis. We analysed every shark related news media article across all available (9) different newspapers in New Zealand from January 1st 1989 to December 31st 2018, giving us a sample of 5, 191 articles. Analyses consisted of an overall analysis of all 5, 191 articles, an analysis of three different decade groups (1989-1998, 1999-2008 and 2009-2018), and two clusters of years of interest (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). The years of interest were selected years because these were periods of time that stood out in terms of being periods of higher than usual article volume. Our study provides a first ever look into how news media articles have historically communicated sharks to the public over the last 30 years. Our findings showed that from January 1st 1989 to December 31st 2018, New Zealand news media articles about sharks heavily focused on human-shark interaction and the risks sharks pose to humans. These findings stayed consistent over time with human-shark interaction significantly dominating any other discourse such as shark conservation or management. The terms ‘attack’ and ‘white’ (shark) were commonly associated with the shark concept. There was no detection of discourse focusing on conservation, management or biology in any analysis except for the year 2013. The use of emotive terms soared following New Zealand’s last fatal human-shark interaction in 2013 and when sensational human-shark interactions occurred in Australia. Overall, Emotive terms were more frequently used that prescriptive terms in each analysis. Our findings suggest that the nine analysed News Media outlets ought to change their approach in shark discourse. We recommend an increased consistent focus on shark policy, biology or conservation rather than human-shark interaction. We further recommend an increase in the use of prescriptive terms, which should be used in place of emotive terms. Our recommendations would provide greater scientific accuracy within shark discourse, and help minimise the representation of sharks as deadly and dangerous killers. Our recommendations may also give rise to more comprehensive shark policy and management strategies, which are required in order to stabilise the global longevity of sharks. This was a two part thesis. Along with this academic thesis, three creative science-based popular articles were written to help articulate the environmental value of sharks.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectHuman-shark interaction
dc.subjectNew Zealand
dc.subjectMedia
dc.subjectMedia Content Analysis
dc.subjectShark
dc.titleSharks and New Zealand News Media
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2020-08-03T04:28:31Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplineCentre for Science Communication
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Science Communication
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelMasters
otago.interloanno
otago.openaccessOpen
otago.evidence.presentYes
otago.abstractonly.term26w
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