2022-08-12Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/su141610002
How the Agricultural Press Addresses the Slurry–Water Nexus: A Text Mining Analysis
Water pollution from intensive livestock husbandry is a persistent social-ecological problem. Since remedies require attention to the slurry–water nexus among practitioners, the agricultural press is a strategic entry point for agenda setting. Systematic content analysis can provide insights into how farming practices and sustainability issues are communicated, which may influence farmers’ attention to the issue and to potential solutions. To address this question, we present a semantic network analysis of three specialized farming magazines in Germany and analyze their coverage of the slurry–water nexus, in particular relationships of actors and issues and co-occurrence with political events. We used text mining methods in order to analyze a text corpus consisting of 4227 online articles published between 2010 and 2020. Results show that one fifth of all slurry-themed articles contained water-related content. We found a shift over time from dominantly management-oriented content towards a politicized debate with more actors and stronger semantic relationships with water protection constructed as an insulated stand-alone issue. This is accompanied by a shift from thematic reporting to episodic reporting focused on environmental legislation and compliance management. This implies less attention to innovations for water-conserving slurry management. Despite its shortcomings, episodic coverage may open up windows of opportunity to improve communication by experts and policy makers.
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