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Journal cover: British Food Journal

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Online from: 1899

Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management

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Coverage of organic agriculture in North American newspapers: Media: linking food safety, the environment, human health and organic agriculture


Document Information:
Title:Coverage of organic agriculture in North American newspapers: Media: linking food safety, the environment, human health and organic agriculture
Author(s):Stacey Cahill, (Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada), Katija Morley, (Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada), Douglas A. Powell, (Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA)
Citation:Stacey Cahill, Katija Morley, Douglas A. Powell, (2010) "Coverage of organic agriculture in North American newspapers: Media: linking food safety, the environment, human health and organic agriculture", British Food Journal, Vol. 112 Iss: 7, pp.710 - 722
Keywords:Agriculture, Information media, Newspapers, Organic foods, Safety
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00070701011058244 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – The project explored the ways in which the topics of organic food and agriculture are discussed in representative North American media outlets in reference to food safety, environmental concerns, and human health.

Design/methodology/approach – Articles from five newspapers were collected and coded using the content analysis technique and analyzed for topic, tone, and theme.

Findings – For a six-year time period, 618 articles on organic food and organic agriculture are analyzed and the prominent topics are found to be genetic engineering, pesticides, and organic farming. Articles with a neutral tone with respect to organic agriculture and food accounted for 41.4 percent of the articles, while positively toned articles garnered 36.9 percent. The themes human health, food safety, and environmental concerns were discussed with positive reference to organic food and agriculture in 81, 50, and 90 percent, respectively, of comments pulled from the articles.

Practical implications – Analysis of these articles over time, between media outlets and by topic allows for understanding of media reporting on the subject and provides insight into the way the public is influenced by news coverage of organic food and agriculture.

Originality/value – Research that analyzes media coverage for how it portrays the topic of organic food and organic agriculture with respect to health, food safety, and environmental concern, and concludes that articles about organic production in the selected time period are seldom negative.



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