Conceptions of the Arctic Through the Lens of the Media

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, northern perspective, journalism

Principal Investigator: Mutual, Alycia (1)
Licence Number: 15422
Organization: UNBC
Licenced Year(s): 2014
Issued: Feb 16, 2014

Objective(s): Focusing specifically on the Beaufort Sea region in the Northwest Territories and Alaska, which has a lengthy history intertwining resource development with issues like Inuit self-governance, this research aims to explore the similarities and differences in perceptions of these issues both across countries as well as between northern and southern-based media.

Project Description: Focusing specifically on the Beaufort Sea region in the Northwest Territories and Alaska, which has a lengthy history intertwining resource development with issues like Inuit self-governance, this research aims to explore the similarities and differences in perceptions of these issues both across countries as well as between northern and southern-based media.

The main component of the research consists of a qualitative discourse analysis of national and local print media articles in the Northwest Territories and Alaska. More specifically, news articles will relate to resource development in the Beaufort Sea region.

A secondary component of the research involves interviewing journalists who work in print media in the Northwest Territories and Alaska to learn about how print media functions in the north. The two media hubs in the regions are Yellowknife, NWT, and Fairbanks, AK. Eight to ten journalists/editors will be interviewed, each for approximately one hour. These interviews will be semi-structured and include 15-20 questions. Interviewees will be contacted and invited for an interview ahead of time, and work for either CBC North (NWT), Northern News Service (NWT), Alaska Dispatch (AK), or Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK). Ideally, interviews will be conducted in person, but may also be conducted by phone. Interviews will be recorded using both a recording device, with consent of the interviewee, as well as with written notes. The identities of the interviewees will not be revealed, unless they choose not to remain anonymous.

Participants will be recruited via contact lists from the media organizations that they work for. Only media organizations based in Yellowknife or Fairbanks will be contacted, as they are the media hubs in the Northwest Territories and northern Alaska, respectively. Editors will be invited first, and if they are unavailable, then journalists will be invited. The principal investigator will first contact interviewees by email and phone. If they are unable to conduct the interview, then they will be asked if they can recommend a co-worker who might be interested. Interview transcripts will be sent to the interviewees so they can make changes or add any comments before the data are used in any publication.

Results of the study will be sent back to the interviewees by email upon completion of the project. The principal investigator will also contact local radio stations in Yellowknife like CBC North to see if they are interested in interviewing them about the findings.

Although this research project does not interview anyone in the Beaufort Sea region, it does look at how the media portray the region. As such, communities living near the Beaufort Sea, like Sachs Harbour, Inuvik, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, might be interested in the findings. Copies of the research will be sent to these municipalities and organizations.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 15, 2014 to February 25, 2014.