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Trends in News Media Reporting of Food and Health Issues: 1995-2005

Wellman, Nancy S. PhD, RD, FADA; Borra, Susan T. BS, RD; Schleman, Jennifer C. BS, APR; Matthews, Jania A. MPS, BS; Amundson, Daniel BA; Tuttle, Michele MPH, RD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e31821a9da4
Nutrition and Communications

From 1995 to 2005, the International Food Information Council Foundation and the Center for Media and Public Affairs conducted biennial surveys of how news media outlets-print, broadcast, and the Internet-cover the important topics of food safety, nutrition, and health. The purpose of these surveys has been to document what kind of media-based information is readily available to consumers, as well as to make some general assessments about the quality of that information and to evaluate the context in which the information was presented.

Media outlets are the primary sources of consumer information on nutrition, food safety, and health; accuracy and helpfulness may be lacking because of consistent lack of context in news coverage

A retrospective on trends in nutrition

Nancy S. Wellman, PhD, RD, FADA, is professor (retired) of dietetics and nutrition in the Stempel School of Public Health at Florida International University, the public research university in Miami. She is the former director of the National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging <>, which is funded primarily by the US Administration on Aging. Dr Wellman's areas of nutrition expertise include aging, public policy, nutrition screening, communications, and marketing, as well as consumer education and food labeling.

Susan T. Borra, BS, RD, is former president of the International Food Information Council Foundation, Washington, District of Columbia. Ms Borra is a nationally recognized nutrition leader with more than 25 years of experience in strategically directing nutrition and food safety issues, policies, communications programs, and managing resources for national organizations representing the food retailing and food processing industries.

Jennifer C. Schleman, BS, APR, is director of Public Outreach & Online Communications, International Food Information Council, and International Food Information Council Foundation. Ms Schleman develops and directs public outreach strategy for all International Food Information Council Foundation programs.

Jania A. Matthews, MPS, BS, is senior manager of Media Outreach and Analysis, International Food Information Council. Ms Matthews is the manager of media relations at the International Food Information Council. Ms Matthews' primary responsibilities include monitoring the food safety and nutrition landscape and tracking media trends. In addition, she serves as a primary contact for reporters seeking information on food safety and nutrition issues.

Daniel Amundson, BA, has been the research director at the Center for Media and Public Affairs since 1987. His work in media analysis began in 1982. Mr Amundson holds a BA from George Washington University in Sociology and Political Science. He is coauthor with Dr S. Robert Lichter of Media Coverage of Religion in America 1969-1998 (2000), Merchandizing Mayhem: Violence in Popular Entertainment (1999), Government Goes Down the Tube: Images of Government in TV Entertainment (1999), Distorted Reality: Hispanic Characters in TV Entertainment (1994), Media Coverage of the Catholic Church (1991), and The Video Campaign: Network News Coverage of the 1988 Primaries (1988), as well as several other articles and monographs on TV entertainment, science in the news media, and media coverage of health issues.

Michele Tuttle, MPH, RD, was an undergraduate at Tufts University and earned her master's degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before starting her consulting practice, Michele was the Director of Consumer Affairs at the Food Marketing Institute, where she was responsible for developing and managing nutrition education materials and programs used by grocery stores and health professionals nationwide.

Correspondence: Jania A. Matthews, MPS, BS, 1100 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 430, Washington, DC 20036 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.