Food nanotechnology in the news. Coverage patterns and thematic emphases during the last decade


For novel issues like food nanotechnology, media can play an important role in shaping the awareness and mental associations that underlie public opinion. Seeking to complement recent research exploring public opinion formation about food nanotechnology, this study tracks the evolution of U.S. newspaper coverage of food nanotechnology, identifying the descriptive and thematic traits that have characterized this coverage over time. We use a rigorous methodology to examine the levels of coverage, authorship patterns, and thematic emphases exhibited in the American journalistic narrative about this burgeoning application of nanoscience. Our findings indicate that U.S. newspaper coverage of food nanotechnology is relatively modest in terms of how often it has been covered, its thematic diversity, and the level of journalistic expertise from which it was produced. To our knowledge, this is the first study to empirically assess journalistic coverage of food nanotechnology.