ERIC Number: ED339064
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Alar and Apples: Newspaper Coverage of a Major Risk Issue.
Friedman, Sharon M.; And Others
A study reviewed coverage in 13 newspapers during 1989 of the issue of spraying the pesticide Alar on apples. Using VU/TEXT, a newspaper database, 297 articles in 13 newspapers that included the specified code words "Alar" with or without "apple" or "apples" were retrieved and analyzed using a 33-question coding instrument which recorded general information about the coverage and risk information crucial to the reporting of such an issue. Results indicated that for the most part the newspapers treated the Alar story as a hard news event, without detailed analysis of the core of the controversy--the risk issues. Four papers from apple-growing regions provided generally better coverage of the issue than did those from non-apple regions. Results also indicated that although the Alar issues had major economic and other impacts, and perhaps because of the complexity of risk matters, reporters covered the conflict itself rather than the science behind the conflict. Results showed that the media did not perform in a socially responsible manner, since they did not present the facts in a meaningful context, clarified and explained. A new model of risk reporting in the mass media should be developed to better serve readers/viewers. (Five tables of data are included; 24 references are attached.) (PRA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Alar Controversy; Environmental Reporting; Media Coverage; Risk Assessment; Science Writing
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (Boston, MA, August 7-11, 1991).