New report from Anna Jones - Help or Hinder? How the Mainstream Media Portrays Farming to the Public

Scholars Reports 2017

Help or Hinder?  How the Mainstream Media Portrays Farming to the Public.

Objectives of Study Tour:

To examine how the urban/rural disconnect feeds into mainstream media coverage of agriculture.  

To understand why deep distrust exists between farmers and the traditional media.

To build bridges between two very different worlds.

Countries Visited USA, Kenya, Denmark, Ireland, France and Belgium

Key findings:

The urban/rural disconnect is real, more so in Western and urbanised societies, and both the media and farming industry are contributing to it.

Some mainstream media coverage is clouded by urban bias, knee-jerk distrust of agribusiness, failing to differentiate between campaigners and informers and an over-reliance on too few sources with an overt political agenda. There is a severe lack of agricultural specialism among general news journalists.

Farmers and industry are fuelling the disconnect through a lack of openness and transparency, disproportionate defensiveness in the face of legitimate challenge, disunity among farming sectors and a sense of ‘exceptionalism’ or entitlement to positive coverage.

The public debate and narrative around agriculture is being dominated by farming unions and lobbyists. Politics at an industry level is drowning out individuals at a farm level, contributing to more distrust.

See full report here.