Agricultural Journalists' Assessments of Print Coverage of Agricultural News

Ann Reisner, Gerry Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract Critics of agricultural news claim farm media and mass media coverage of agriculture is systematically distorted, a condition that could seriously affect the agricultural information system. A national survey used agricultural journalists as expert judges to assess how well three types of print journalists cover agricultural news. Their assessments indicated that mass media reporters who do not regularly cover agricultural news tend to write agriculture stories that are superficial and stereotyped but not biased toward agricultural interests. Farm magazine writers' stories are not superficial or stereotyped, but writers are uncritical of agriculture, biased toward agroindustry, and overlook important social and environmental issues. Newspaper farm beat reporters are closer to farm magazine writers in not trivializing agriculture and closer to general newspaper reporters in avoiding close ties with industry. Both farmers and public thus receive biased and fragmented reporting that may polarize their views on current agricultural issues. Even if reporters are aware of critical shortcomings in their coverage, improvement may require reduction in structural constraints on story choice. 1994 Rural Sociological Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-537
Number of pages13
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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