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Beneficial or biohazard? How the media frame biosolids

[journal article]

Goodman, J. Robyn; Goodman, Brett P.

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Abstract This study looked at how the media framed biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, from 1994 to 2004 by analyzing the 13 media frames found in 286 biosolid-related articles from newspapers in Florida, Virginia, and California. The researchers found the articles framed biosolids as a regulatory or legal issue most often, and most of the frames’ tones were neutral (1,958). However, negative tone (507) happened three times more often than positive tone (149), and environmental, management, and public nuisance framing tended to be more negative than any of the other frames. Neither the frames themselves nor the tones had statistically significant changes over the past decade. Regarding the sources used in the stories, the most frequent source was local government officials, which were used twice as frequently as any other source, followed by corporations (16 percent) and citizens (14 percent). These findings should help biosolid producers and officials in developing a media strategy that is proactive toward shaping public opinion rather than reactive to an issue that makes its way to the media and spurs public concern.
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 359-375
Journal Public Understanding of Science, 15 (2006) 3
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)