An examination of the Texas print media's ability to report objectively on cotton following the dissemination of an agricultural media resource
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The purpose of this study was to examine the coverage of cotton from 534 Texas newspapers. This study replicated research methods utilized by Beesley (2003). Using the Hayakawa-Lowry method, the levels of bias in the media's coverage of cotton were evaluated following the development and distribution of the CottonLink media resource tool in August of 2004. The objectives for this study were to: (1) identify all articles written about cotton in Texas newspapers for six selected months according to circulation size and geographic region; (2) classify cotton articles into categories and concept areas; (3) categorize the sentences in hard news and feature articles using the Hayakawa-Lowry News Bias categories; (4) determine bias of judgment statements in the identified articles; and (5) determine the level of bias in Texas newspapers after the distribution of the CottonLink CD for the print media and compare it to the findings of Beesley (2003). There was a total of 1,356 articles from 275 newspapers collected by the Texas Press Clipping Service during the six-month period of study. An overall increase was found in the number of articles, newspapers and circulation size when compared to the previous study by Beesley while a significant decrease was found in the number of judgment sentences during this study. Recommendations include an increase in agricultural literacy among joumalists in addition to future research.