A Meaty Discourse: What Makes Meat News?

By Judith Friedlander, Chris Riedy and Catriona Bonfiglioli.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 15, 2014 $US5.00

Worldwide, livestock and meat production have been identified by key governmental and scientific institutions as major contributors to climate change, intensive water use, high phosphorous use, and other environmental problems. These adverse environmental impacts are increasing, as the global consumption of livestock products is growing rapidly. Media coverage of the environmental impacts of livestock and meat production in Australia and the United States has been limited and does not communicate a message consistent with the available scientific evidence identified in academic literature. A media content analysis of how the subject of meat has been covered by major Australian newspapers over the past five years provides insights into the news frames and news values in portrayals of meat. News frames of animal welfare, the economy, and food or culinary associations dominated over stories about climate change and other environmental impacts. Media content analysis determined that news values of proximity, conflict, and human interest dominated. Newspaper print media retains a vital, albeit diminishing, role in agenda setting. As such, the content analysis findings in this paper are valuable to inform news media campaigns that seek to stimulate increased media coverage of environmental and other impacts of meat. Such campaigns may assist in placing the issue more prominently on the public agenda.

Keywords: Environmental Impacts of Meat, Livestock Production, Media Content Analysis, Climate Change, Agenda Setting, News Frames, News Values

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, November 2014, pp.27-43. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 15, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 684.579KB)).

Judith Friedlander

Postgraduate Researcher, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr Chris Riedy

Associate Professor, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr Catriona Bonfiglioli

Senior Lecturer, Media Studies, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia