Local heroes or village idiots? Press portrayal of opponents of two controversial coastal developments in North-east Scotland.
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BAXTER, G., 2015. Local heroes or village idiots? Press portrayal of opponents of two controversial coastal developments in North-east Scotland. Aberdeen Business School Working Paper Series, 8 (2)
This paper examines press coverage, at the local, regional and national (i.e. Scottish) levels, of two controversial coastal developments in Northeast Scotland: the building of a North Sea gas reception terminal in the 1970s, and the current development of “the greatest golf course anywhere in the world” by the American business tycoon, Donald Trump. These developments have had much in common: both have had potential or actual impacts on environmentally sensitive sites; both were responsible for significant levels of public participation in the planning processes; both saw the creation of new groups with the aim of opposing the developments; and each has been affected by plans for other major structures in their immediate vicinity. Despite these similarities, there have been some significant differences in the ways in which the local, regional and national press have portrayed the developers and environmental opponents in each case. This has been most evident with the two daily regional newspapers in North-east Scotland, the Press and Journal and the Evening Express. While they provided a reasonably balanced account of the gas terminal controversy in the 1970s, they have adopted an obvious pro-Trump bias in their coverage of the golf course saga, where opponents of the development have largely been dismissed, ridiculed or ignored. Note: This paper is based on a presentation made at Media and the Margins, the MeCCSA Annual Conference 2014, Bournemouth, UK, 8-10 January 2014.