Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date



Brookings Mountain West

Publisher Location

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Last page number:



In recent years, large government-funded solar energy projects across the nation have received increasing media attention—especially with government funded solar projects going bankrupt. This study examines the evolution of media coverage on solar energy issues, including an analysis of political differences and the role they play within two western cities that sit at the epicenter of solar energy resources in the United States, Las Vegas and Phoenix. These cities are poised to compete for and collaborate on projects for millions of dollars in federal research funds and economic development incentives dedicated to the development of solar energy.

This study conducted a content analysis of national newspapers discussing solar energy within Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona. A content analysis was conducted using ProQuest Newspapers (National Newspapers Expanded). Articles from January 1, 2008, to March 25, 2013, were included in the research. A total of 205 articles were analyzed within the research, 99 for Phoenix and 106 for Las Vegas.

This study found disparate media coverage on solar energy between Phoenix and Las Vegas. The Las Vegas newspaper coverage on solar projects was much more politically debated and included more negative rhetoric than the Phoenix coverage. Whereas the Phoenix articles within the study were more likely to be associated with community projects, public support, and political support for solar energy.


Global Financial Crisis; 2008-2009; Government business enterprises – Finance; Metropolitan areas; Recessions; Southwest; New


Communication | Mass Communication | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Social Influence and Political Communication

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663 KB




The author is a master's student in the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies.


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