Media as a catalyst for civic engagement and change in North Texas: The Barnett Shale case
Studies have indicated that the media no longer upholds its watchdog responsibilities by failing to report on issues within a timely manner. Preemptive notification would allow citizens to discuss and react before harm is done in order to prevent potential crisis. Because of its value in watchdog reporting, this paper challenges the assumption that the media fails to react in a timely manner, and also addresses whether or not civic engagement and/or change was inspired due to the media's actions. For this case study, the North Texas media's reactions to the Barnett Shale natural gas boom were examined. Because of the complexity involved within oil and gas operations and the industry's potential influence on media gatekeepers, the need to inform in a timely manner was crucial. The conclusion of this study revealed that the watchdog media did act within a timely manner and that they stimulated civic engagement and change.