Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version

Summer 8-1-2014

Document Type



Farmer, M. (2014). the Impact of Food Manufacturers' Recall Notifications on the Tone of Newspaper Coverage. Thesis Paper.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Journalism and Mass Communications, Under the Supervision of Professor Ming Wang. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Monique L. Farmer


This study examined whether attributes focused on within food recall notifications issued by food companies have an impact on the tone of the associated, subsequent news coverage. Additionally, the study examined second-level agenda building to determine whether attributes emphasized in food recall notifications showed up in resulting news coverage.

The findings suggest that the most significant attribute for crisis communicators to focus on during the agenda-building process of a food recall event is instructional messaging. This aspect of the crisis communication messaging strategy is positively correlated with a positive tone in news coverage.

Specifically, this research study found some tentative evidence that the tone of newspaper coverage is almost four times as likely to be positive with each additional element of instructional messaging within the food recall notifications.

The study also found support for second-level agenda building, the transfer of attribute salience in food recall notifications to news coverage.

Advisor: Ming Wang