Harvesting the Wind: Analyzing Television News Coverage of Wind Energy

Sherice Gearhart, Oluseyi Adegbola, Mark Guerra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The need for alternative energy sources is growing. Currently, the United States is the second largest producer of wind energy, one form of alternative energy. This study investigates news about wind energy. Using a longitudinal content analysis (2001–2016) of news transcripts from the three major U.S. broadcast television networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), news was content analyzed to assess frames, issues, and sources used in reporting. Results show that American television news coverage of wind energy decreased and consistently featured thematically framed stories and a mix of sources, but sources were minimally utilized. Further, reporting during the time of significant U.S. investment in the industry lacked depth and failed to discuss issues necessary to enhance public understanding. Results demonstrate the trend to frame science-related mass communication differently than other topics, such as politics. Practical implications of this study provide guidance for issue advocates and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-957
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 3 2019


  • Wind energy
  • content analysis
  • framing
  • renewable energy
  • television news


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