Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Slattery, Karen

Second Advisor

Garner, Ana

Third Advisor

Chattopadhyay, Sumana


Drawing on narrative analysis, this study uncovers the metanarrative that served to structure the coverage of global warming as it appeared in The New York Times over a 20-year period. This analysis indicates that The New York Times used weight-of-evidence reporting over time to underpin the architecture of the metastory, in contrast to traditional objective reporting. Weight-of-evidence reporting is recommended as a method of incorporating the majority voice of science by de-emphasizing what is considered untrue, rather than giving it the same merit, while also documenting growing evidence. This finding is situated within the context of journalism ethics. The study of The New York Times' coverage is important because it is an opinion leader among press organizations, and because citizens use news to educate themselves, thus media have a duty to accurately inform the public. Understanding the story that The New York Times has told lays the groundwork for future studies related to how news coverage of climate change and other issues of risk has unfolded in this culture.