Uneingeschränkter Zugang

Agents of sustainable transition or place branding promotors?: Local journalism and climate change in Sweden


The climate crisis concerns the whole fabric of society. Local journalism can play a key role when cities are handling the problems. In this article, I analyse local media discourses on climate change in four Swedish cities that aim to be role models in the transition towards carbon neutrality. A discourse analysis of news articles and op-eds about the climate, combined with semi-structured interviews with journalists working at four different local newspapers, shows that the climate crisis is covered in all newspapers – even if the amount and ambition varies – including the ability to fill key roles as watchdog and educator. The newsrooms’ climate focus also had to give way when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Local decisions about transportation, food, and urban development are common topics and often debated in the local press. However, the prize-winning cities’ ambitious green plans to become climate neutral already by 2030 remain vague for the journalists and probably also their readers.