Source Interests, News Frames, and Risk Delineation: A Content Analysis of U.S. Newspapers’ Coverage of Genetically Modified Food (1994–2015)

Xigen Li, Zerui Liang, Xiaohua Wu


Informed by agency–structure theory, this study examines how news source interests are associated with news frame, risk delineation, and balance of the coverage of genetically modified food. Through a content analysis of U.S. newspaper coverage of genetically modified food from 1994 to 2015, the study found that sources’ interests were associated with news frame and risk delineation, but not balance of coverage. Disinterested sources were associated with the public interest frames more than the sources that had some embedded interest in the production and consumption of genetically modified food. Interested sources were associated with less risk delineation than disinterested sources. The findings suggest that sources do not influence news coverage only through their power status, but also from their embedded interests in the issues.


content analysis, agency–structure theory, genetically modified food, public interest, news source, frame analysis

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