Analysis of Editorial Discourse on Environmental Challenges in Nigerian Newspapers: the Case of 2012 Flooding

Nnanyelugo Okoro, Chinedu Christian Odoemelam, Obayi Paul Martin


Researches on editorials examine the discursive strategy or pattern as a response to issues of public significance by newspapers. One of the major issues that had serious public environmental and health significance in the year 2012 was flooding. The devastating impact of the flood on different aspect of Nigeria’s life is well documented in extant literature. However, there is a gap in studies examining the editorial discourse on the issue. Such a lacuna has serious implications for understanding how the media as an institution debated on the issue and contributed to policy decision on environmental challenges. The study content analysed a sample of four Nigerians newspapers. The following categories were examined: ‘source attribution’, ‘attribution of blame’, advocacy’ and the ‘articulation of solution’. The entries coded were subjected to inter-coder reliability test, using Holsti’s reliability index. The inter-coder reliability was 89.1percent index.   Findings showed that the newspapers use source attribution in their editorials to give credibility to debates on environmental issues. The study also found that experts sources were the major attributions. Also, blame for the issues surrounding the editorial and advocacy for attitude change, were systemic. Finding also showed that policy solution was the most articulated variable. It is recommended that, since editorial discourse on public risk are seen as crucial drivers of environmental policies and government response; editorials should develop constructive discourses on environmental sustainability.

Keywords: Analysis, Editorials, Discourses Environmental health, Challenges, Flooding

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