Trial by media: The case for sustainability

HW's Gareth Reece on ante-narratives as the narratives of the future.

Talk's abstract

Media coverage of sustainability is often said to simply reflect the views of the public. On the other hand media can construct new outcomes, portray polarised information, distort through dramatization, supress realities, and conceal truths. Expressed concisely by Jim Morrison - “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”, so it is worth reminding ourselves of Voltaire’s “With great power comes great responsibility”. Telling stories to inspire generations, that challenge the status quo, reveal truths, and transform cultures, media institutions have the potential to revolutionise the way we live to promote a sustainable society – So why not?

The research I am presenting to you here is based on the inevitability that the narratives within a media organisation directly and indirectly influence the content that is produced. I review some of my research addressing sustainability ante-narratives in media organisations through a case study at the BBC. Ante-narratives, rather in the manner of a bet in poker, present living stories that have the potential to become the dominant narratives of the future. The talk and discussion will reveal findings such as ‘trans-sustainability’ and the dynamics of shared cross-industry sustainability efforts (, probing and developing further the broader subject of representation of sustainability in the media, and most importantly, what we can do with it.


Please let Helen know if you intend to come.

© 2013 HighWire, The LICA Building, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YW Website Design by Fat Media