An analysis of the level of trust Texas cotton producers place in the Texas newspaper media: A qualitative determination of the behavioral characteristics of trust



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Newspapers have long played a role in providing information to a wide-range of audiences. Newspapers offer a well-known mode of communication for a variety of issues. However, newspapers are sometimes looked upon as biased, liberal members of the mass communication industry. This issue has been a focus for researchers in the realm of agricultural communications, as well as members of the general public. Many efforts have been made in recent years to study the quality and quantity of the Texas newspaper media’s coverage of cotton and cotton-related issues. Before the creation of CottonLink, desired characteristics of a media resource guide were asked of Texas newspaper reporters. However, the cotton producer has had little opportunity to voice his/her opinion on the issue. This study sought to identify producers’ perspectives on trust for the Texas newspaper media, as well as determine those characteristics in which Texas cotton producers look for in other entities in order for them to enact that behavior in them. The research conducted was prefaced by the theoretical framework of the Theory of Planned Behavior, and an adaptation of the grounded theory method of data analysis was utilized for determining the findings of the study. Data collected include interview transcripts, a usability questionnaire, and a researcher perspective journal. Key findings of this research study include the identification of the characteristics that determine trust among Texas cotton producers. Producers also identified their level of trust for the Texas newspaper media, while also stating the low utilization of the newspaper information regarding cotton and related issues. Finally, producers recognized their perspectives of other institutional specific information entities such as magazines, extension service publications, and other cotton-related publications. The findings for this study also resulted in implications that affect the Texas newspaper media and their relationship with the Texas cotton industry. Recommendations focus on both the Texas newspaper media and the Texas cotton producers, as well as future research in agricultural communications.



Trust, Agriculture, Cotton industry, Producers, Newspaper