Identifying Sources Of Bias In Agricultural News Reporting

B. Kathryn Whitaker, James E. Dyer
2000 Journal of Agricultural Education  
The purpose of this study was to determine how selection of informational sources and media presentation of material contribute to the bias levels of articles in two types of periodicals-news and agricultural-in regards to the environment and food safety. The three agricultural periodicals with the largest circulations-Farm Journal, Progressive Farmer, and Successful Farming--and the three news periodicals with the largest circulations-Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report-were evaluated
more » ... for the purpose of this study. Articles were selected for the 10-year period from 1987-1996 and evaluated using the Hayakawa-Lowry method of determining bias. It was determined that the most used sources of information by journalists were educational and governmental. Articles were often printed in sections of the publication that appeared to have no relationship to the nature of the article. The depth in reporting of environmental and food safety issues was lacking. There was little difference in the presentation of articles between news and agricultural magazines. Both used articles in various locations, used pictures that generated an emotional response from readers, presented stories of various lengths, used a range of reporters to cover stories, and sought information from various sources. News magazines also used artwork, which almost always conveys a biased message.
doi:10.5032/jae.2000.04125 fatcat:l5nlwgauhnfirnhek7jaxd4hwm