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How Agricultural Media Cover Safety Compared with Periodicals in Two Other Hazardous Industries

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 23(1): 83-94. (doi: 10.13031/jash.11900) @2017
Authors:   Amanda Marolf, Scott Heiberger, James Evans, Lura Joseph
Keywords:   Agriculture, Coverage, Death, Industry media, Injury, Injury prevention, Mining, Periodicals, Public safety, Reporting, Risk assessment, Risk communication, Safety, Safety assessment, Safety equipment, Safety inspection, Safety protocol, Safety regulation

Abstract. This analysis featured a uniquely broad look at challenges and potentials for engaging agricultural and other industrial media more effectively in covering safety. It involved a content analysis of selected industry periodicals serving agriculture, mining, and transportation, which are three of the nation‘s most hazardous industries, in terms of human safety. Use of the social amplification of risk framework (SARF) provided insight on safety coverage. In particular, it tested previous research indicating that media coverage tends to amplify (increase) more than attenuate (decrease) a sense of risk. Analysis involved 18 periodicals (9 agriculture, 7 transportation, and 2 mining) spanning a five-year period from 2008 to 2012. Full-text digital analysis identified terms found in safety articles across all three industries. A manual review of articles revealed the quantity and nature of safety coverage within and among these industries. Results identified 528 safety-related articles published during the period. Transportation and mining periodicals averaged more than twice as many safety articles as the agricultural periodicals. The amount of coverage within the three industries also varied greatly. Findings on the nature of coverage supported previous media research within the SARF. Coverage across all three industries was clearly oriented more to amplifying than to attenuating risk. This study adds to the understanding of variations, commonalities, challenges, and potentials for enhancing safety coverage by media serving these three industries. It also provides direction for engaging industry media more effectively in the public safety mission. The authors recommend seven areas of opportunity for further research.

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