Journalists' views of advertiser pressures on agricultural news

  • Reisner A
  • Walter G
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Abstract

All major journalism ethical codes explicitly state that journalists should protect editorial copy from undue influence by outside sources. However, much of the previous research on agricul- tural information has concentrated on what information various media communicate (gatekeeping studies) or communication's role in increasing innovation adoption (diffusion studies). Few studies have concentrated specifically on organizational and structural constraints that might adversely affect agricultural journalists' ethical standards; those that have, focus largely on farm magazines. A study of newspaper reporters who cover agricultural news found that the most pressing ethical concern is the effect of advertiser (agri-business) pressure on editorial copy, and that their concerns in general parallel those of farm magazine writers and editors. The majority reported being in situations in which they might be exposed to advertiser pressure, including pressures to change or withhold editorial copy. Large minorities suggested that advertising pressures affect the overall environment in which agricultural jour- nalists work, and more than one in ten said they allow advertiser pressures to influence editorial decisions. The newspaper reporters who cover agricultural beats showed slightly more resistance to advertiser pressure than did farm magazine editors in a parallel study.

Author-supplied keywords

  • agriculture
  • ethics
  • farm magazines
  • newspapers
  • press

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Authors

  • Ann Reisner

  • Gerry Walter

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