Environmental Conflict and Media Coverage of an Oil Spill in Trinidad

  • Godfrey A. Steele


In December 2013, local media reported an oil spill off the southwestern coast of Trinidad. Subsequent media reports generated local and international interest, statements, and commentary from company and government interests and members of the La Brea community (fisherfolk and residents directly affected by the oil spill), the national community, trade unionists, politicians, oil spill experts, and environmentalists. As the news coverage developed, various narrative themes emerged. Within these themes, various conflict issues, mainly pertaining to the nature and focus of communication, and differences over the prevention, mitigation and management of environmental disasters were manifested in the media coverage and corporate communications management of crisis and reputation. Using crisis communication theory, and content analysis of media and company texts, this study examined the extent of media coverage and organizational and corporate communications framing of the creation, escalation, and management of a significant environmental conflict situation.

Keywords: environmental conflict, media, framing, crisis communication, rinidad, oil spill

How to Cite:

Steele, G., (2016) “Environmental Conflict and Media Coverage of an Oil Spill in Trinidad”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 9(1), 60-80. doi:

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Published on
20 Jan 2016
Peer Reviewed