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Covering Kiruna: a natural experiment in Arctic awareness

Steinberg, P.E.; Bruun, J.M.; Medby, I.A.

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J.M. Bruun

I.A. Medby


At a time when the Arctic is attracting increasing international attention and a variety of actors are positioning themselves in anticipation of future developments, news reporters across the world face the challenge of explaining why the Arctic is relevant to the lives and realities of audiences, some of whom are far from the region itself. This challenge was felt particularly profoundly in May 2013, when events and controversies surrounding the Kiruna Arctic Council meeting tasked journalists around the world with explaining to their audiences what it means to have a legitimate interest in the Arctic and why the Arctic matters on a global scale. Media coverage from the eight Arctic Council member states, six candidate states, and six existing permanent observer states thus presented a natural experiment in Arctic awareness. In this article, an analysis of 280 news stories reporting on the Kiruna meeting is used to reveal how the media frame the Arctic as a region of increasing global significance – a region in which present-day participation is a strategic positioning for the future, and in which political presence holds symbolic significance for geopolitical relations far beyond the region's latitudinal borders.


Steinberg, P., Bruun, J., & Medby, I. (2014). Covering Kiruna: a natural experiment in Arctic awareness. Polar Geography, 37(4), 273-297.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 14, 2014
Publication Date Nov 26, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 10, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 25, 2015
Journal Polar Geography
Print ISSN 1088-937X
Electronic ISSN 1939-0513
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 4
Pages 273-297


Accepted Journal Article (510 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Polar Geography on 26/11/2014, available online at:

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