How News is Presented: Food for Thought

The importance of food is crucial to human survival, but the way food is managed today strikes debates on certain practices done to food and what we as a society are constantly consuming. How that news is presented can make all the difference.

1. The video explaining “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” was the most intriguing to me because it was both informational, urgent, visually appealing, and struck continuous interest. It not only talked about the process behind the cow industry and its shocking effects on nature through greenhouse gases, but also added the impact it has on human health and what one day a week of not eating beef can do for Earth. I will admit that the visuals relating to the written dialogue is something I greatly respond to, being an artist. Visuals aside, however, the written comparisons were particularly strong by taking incomprehensible numbers into a context people can grasp. What caught your attention the most in the video and why? What are your thoughts on visual storytelling and do you feel that visuals are a necessity for news articles? Why or why not?

Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut3URdEzlKQ&list=PLEE651A7E4071E6C8&index=8

2. The two articles explaining GMOs took different approaches in their writing style and their way of displaying the information which made me feel that the Vox article was more successful than the Grist article. The Vox article had a professional tone that gave detailed information while being fair to both sides. The layout was divided into specific questions which helped categorize the common topics related to GMOs. I particularly enjoyed the visual chart showing the decrease in insecticide use with the increase of GMOs, and then explaining how overuse causes weed resistance, clearly labeling each issue. The Grist article felt unprofessional, insincere, and too personal. There was unnecessary information that made it difficult to focus on the main point and dragged the article to the point where the facts felt buried. What is your take on these two articles and what did and didn’t work for you?

Vox Article: http://www.vox.com/cards/genetically-modified-foods/what-is-genetically-modified-food
Grist Article: http://grist.org/series/panic-free-gmos/

3. Lynn Henning is a CAFO activist, her story appearing on Michigan Radio. The article addresses that there is a problem with manure pollution as well as neighborhoods arguing between profit and scenic obstruction through CAFOs, but what I felt was lacking was the core reason for the public to care about CAFOs and why Lynn Henning felt so strongly about this issue. A video of Lynn on HBO Real Time was removed from youtube which could be the reason why details were omitted. This article made me feel like I needed to search and come to my own conclusions about the topic. What was your thoughts when reading this article? Did you feel content with the information provided? Why or why not? Were you able to watch the video? If so please explain the interview. If not, do you think it was removed from the general public?

Article: http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-cafo-activist-lynn-henning-appears-hbos-real-time-bill-maher

Advertisements

About Michelina

Digital designs, photography, videos, sculptures.

9 Responses to “How News is Presented: Food for Thought”

  1. I like the video of ” Hidden cost of Hamburgers” most. This video impresses me with the fact it indicates for burgers and its visual effect. I never know even a small burger has these such many hidden cost for human, because I only pay attention with the facial price for a burger. The data that shown within this video surprise me greatly. For example, I never know the cow will produce methane gas that weakens our environment much more severely than the car does. Generally, people always find news story about how gas emission damage the environment. After seeing this video, I got new idea for environment problem. Like what the interpreter says, each person eat less two burgers will make the hidden cost less more.For the visual expression, comparing with shown by just words, vivid animation will attract more public’s eyes. For example, when I pick a story from the above three listings, I pick the video first. Because video will seems more interesting than wording stuff.So, the visual expression is necessary for new articles. This video is as short as only seven minutes, but the data and matching data shown offer this video substantially. The use of simple picture makes information more easily to be understood.
    Comparing with another also food-environment related article of reading assignment. Here is the link:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/28/us/2500-pigs-join-debate-over-farms-vs-scenery.html?_r=0
    In this article, there is a similar story about environment concerning for the C&H hog farm. Environmentalists thought the residual water from the hog should affect the national river. This is similar with the video shows that cows breeding affects the environment. Both these two news stories have similar theme, which advocate consume less cow or pig, because they have hidden cost on human. However, the article about hog farm only use words editing to show this story. I think this seem less attraction than the cow one. There is less impression for me after viewing the hog farm articles.So, visual storytelling could be important.
    Again, when we eat food, we should not only consider the price, we should also consider the hidden cost behind it.

  2. This is in response to your thoughts on “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers”:
    I have to agree that the video was both informational and visually appealing. Though I don’t think visuals are a ‘necessity’ for news articles, having visuals does help readers to better understand and digest the information. When you’re reading statistics, say in a newspaper without any supporting pictures, it takes effort to compare and contrast the numbers in your head, whereas infographics, such as the one in the video, do the job for you by making the magnitude of the statistics obvious, thus you are better able to follow the video’s logic and following conclusion.

  3. In response to your comments on Lynn Henning, I was also not able to find that particular video of her and Bill Maher, but I was able to find multiple other videos, one with Bill Maher and multiple others. On Bill Maher’s show and in her other speeches, it becomes very clear that she is passionate about these issues surrounding manure pollution because she has seen many of the effects first hand in her community and has seen many people hurt by these effects. One things in particular I enjoy about her talks is that she is not necessarily angry, but really strives to educate people. She says that she thinks educating people is necessary. She is also not asking of money to make up for the hardships she’s been through, but for the pollution that results from these CAFOs to stop. I don’t think this article did Henning any justice. She is a hardworking woman with a drive to change the world, and did not shed any light as to who she is. Because it was a short piece, I realize that it may have been difficult to to this, but the more personal appeal would have benefitted it, because the subject is such a compelling person.

  4. This is a response to the article on Lynn Henning.

    The article does leave out major components on CAFO’s, and the negative implications of their activities. However, I’ve researched CAFO’s quite extensively when I was in my environmental systems class in high school, and can completely understand why Henning takes such a strong stance against them.

    I’ve watched Food Inc. and other videos about mass farms of animals, and it is mainly controversial due to animal cruelty. Some animals, for example, chickens, get injected with so many hormones that they can’t even move, and die prematurely. The workers honestly do not care one bit for the animals, kicking them, throwing them around, and having them eat complete garbage to help certain parts of their body grow for more meat and what not.

    I wish the article could have talked about these effects a little more to hook readers in. The video may have been removed, as the government would not like to have these negative implications surface. They would like us to think that we’re always consuming naturally and well-raised animals.

  5. In response to “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers,” I was ultimately shocked at how alarming the statistics were to me, due to the audio and visuals connected to them. Reading them would not have as strong of an impression on me. Often I glance over statistics in an article because it becomes numbers on a page. The illustrations which showed the vast amount of manure and cows, which are affecting our environment and health were alarming. Although simplistic, and cartoon like, they were mature enough that the viewer was interested and drawn to what was being said. I cannot understand how the general public is not aware of the fact that cutting down the consumption of beef could be so significant. I was definitely influenced to cut down my intake.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” video which highlighted many of the underlying costs of an American delicacy we often take for granted. I have done a bit of research in ‘hidden costs’ and I am always blown away by the impact objects we see all the time have on the world. For example it takes around 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of regular ol’ blue jeans. We rarely think of the effects food and material possessions have on the world during production. I enjoyed the visuals in this video as I felt it highlighted the main message while keeping the content light. I often feel as though these sorts of messages get swept away with fear tactics and grotesque images – which usually pushes viewers away. This video was calm and took an informative tone rather than fear-inducing.

    I do think that the video and piece could have taken a stronger stance on pushing solutions for engagement to viewers. I think a big part of videos or news pieces covering educational and potential behaviour altering topics need to dedicate time to solutions for those who watch. The video mentioned that many americans are beginning to eat more meat and discussed how many were beginning to cut meat out of their diet for one day. Meatless Mondays are part of a big movement to encourage individuals to reduce meat consumption and I think if the video had dedicated a little more time to this movement it could have made a great message that much stronger. While some facts were given to highlight the change that cutting meat from ones diet for one day can have, it was not explicit in suggesting people begin to do so.

    I also really enjoyed Part 1 and Part 2 from the Columbian Journalism Review. Part 2 was especially engaging as it touched on Mayor Bloombergs attempt to ban large soda’s in New York. Interestingly, public backlash paired with court reviews destroyed his best efforts to reduce the amount of sugar we consume. I think an issue that, in its simplest terms, was trying to take a progressive stance on crafting a healthier food environment was blown out of proportion and turned into a civil liberties case. While there is contention surrounding any government involvement in individuals lives and personal choices, interference should occur at institutional levels where individuals frequently lack the resources or power to make changes. This article also reflected on the authors personal experience hunting for healthy food as a class assignment while a student at Columbia. The author detailed her struggles finding any healthy food that looked appealing let alone any that was affordable. Coming full circle to the “Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” video, I immediately thought of the cost of healthy foods like fresh veggies and fruits. In many of my classes here at the University of Michigan we have discussed how different the United States would look and how different our health would be if the government subsidized fruit and vegetable farmers instead of cattle and pork? Imagine if it was cheaper to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables than a pound of hamburger – food disparities and food deserts would vanish.

    From a journalistic standpoint I was curious reading this multi-part series how effective it was to break up pieces in such a fashion. The topic of food and sustainability was certainly carrying through but as the two pieces were exploring different topics I wondered how many readers viewed both articles. I was also curious how well readership is maintained over a series like this as it often seems as though individuals can have short attention spans.

  7. I completely agree with what you’re saying about the importance of having visuals that can relate to the dialogue. It heightens the readers level of interest, as well as their level of understanding. Having visuals also makes it easier to focus. I was shocked by how much of an impact one day without beef makes on the Earth- the costs really are hidden, I hadn’t heard of many of these costs before this. Visuals proved to be incredibly helpful, and this is a very important aspect of news today.

  8. “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers,” is simply said gorgeous. I found the visuals incredibly intriguing and effective, especially in the representation of statistics and scientific fact.

    This was a beautifully composed piece, and I think it was a much more effective method to convey its message than many other articles that I have read on the same subject.

    The facts were displayed clearly with smart images, and the video did a great job of going back historically to describe the root of the issue as well as describing the science.

    I do have to say that the video was one-sided, but it was meant to explain the facts therefore there really was only one side to convey. Likewise the end message of cutting out “one burger per week,” gave a very reasonable means to help reduce the negative impacts, without pointing fingers at the meat industry.

  9. The video “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” revealed some startling facts about the world we live in and the food we consume—unknowingly. The role of corn, the amount of burgers we eat in a year, and the fact that livestock occupy 30% of the world’s land is downright shocking. Watching the conversation shift to contamination and pollution, I realized there is a reason mass production of beef is not readily advertised. Yes, there have been “get fit” campaigns but according to the video, we still eat 3 hamburgers a week on average. Information like this is purely for shock value, in my opinion. I don’t necessarily think the video was impartial (I felt it’s singular purpose was to condemn the production and consumption of mass beef products) and I got a guilty feeling after watching (similar to the one I got after watching “supersize me”). However, a positive point is that I ended the video feeling more informed and aware of my role in the beef/meat industry. In regards to the articles, I really liked the vox one. (I’m a bit biased because I love vox in general). I felt it was completely straightforward and informative which is more than I can say for the less organized, more confusing to navigate grist site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s