Senior Project Advisor
human, bear, encounter, media, impact, implications
Human-bear encounters are on the rise as human recreation and settlement continues to expand and encroach upon bear habitat. As these encounters increase, so does the news and media coverage of encounters that affect societal attitudes toward bears, their habitat, and their conservation. In this paper I will explore the implications of media coverage on human-bear encounters, including management techniques and critiques that influence media coverage and bear populations. The basis for my study was founded on the research question, “How does local media coverage of bear encounters impact societal perceptions of bears?” Using content analysis of 59 local news stories, I have identified four main themes that are employed to frame human-bear encounters: Negative Portrayal of bears and bear encounters, Positive Portrayal of bears and bear encounters, Omission of human impact, and Human-Centric Attitudes. Media coverage of human-bear encounters has the potential to positively impact societal attitudes toward bears, and that bear management resources and media/news outlets must work together to properly educate and inform the public about bears, their habitats, and their need for conservation.
Hall, Robin, "Media Coverage on Human-Bear Encounters" (2023). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 714.
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