Covering the Wildfire of Mati in Greece: Undermining the Systemic Human Impact on the Environment

Minos Athanasios Karyotakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The Mati (Greece) wildfire of 23 July 2018 received extensive news coverage. It dominated the Greek public discourse for several years to the extent that it was ascribed to being used as a tool for electoral power. In spite of its significance, no research has focused on investigating the news coverage of this event. This research paper examines the news discourse of the Mati Wildfire by studying 1,573 news articles, using ideological discourse analysis (IDA). It analyzes the dominant narratives and constructions of the nine most prominent news websites in Greece and reveals if there is a systemic undermining of human impact on the environment. The findings showed that the news outlets did not cover the wildfire as an environmental event, but rather a political issue. The disseminated constructions were of a populistic discourse that supported a polarized logic of a positive image for a particular group (i.e., the main opposition party) and a negative one for the outgroup (i.e., the then-government). As a result, the study emphasizes how crucial it is for journalists to critically explain the role and effects of human activity on the environment (Anthropocene), instead of simply focusing on political or otherwise discussion of events.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)425-442
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournalism Practice
    Volume16
    Issue number2-3
    Early online date27 Aug 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Communication

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Anthropocene
    • climate change
    • discourse
    • Mati
    • news websites
    • wildfire

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