World Wide Web coverage of agricultural issues: A content analysis



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Texas Tech University


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the coverage of agriculture available by popular agricultural websites on the World Wide Web for one calendar month. The study sought to determine the level of bias in the identified articles. Also, findings of this study were compared to two previous studies in order to contrast the difference between reporters with an agricultural background and those without an agricultural background.

The majority (55%) of these articles proved to be report sentences, which are factual and verifiable sentences. Thirty-seven percent of the sentences were judgment sentences, which are expressions of the writer's or quoted speaker's opinions. Only 5% of the sentences were categorized as inference sentences, which are subjective and immediately verifiable sentences.

Additionally, this study showed that reporters with an agricultural background write more report sentences, much less inference sentences, and slightly more judgment sentences.

Results of this study show the importance of agricultural literacy in the media field in order to better report about the industry. More factual statements by reporters will help provide a more accurate image of the agricultural industry.



World Wide Web, Agriculture -- Computer network resources, Communication in agriculture -- Evaluation, Agricultural literature, Agriculture -- Information services -- Evaluation