A semiotic analysis of biotechnology and food safety photographs
Norwood, Jennifer Lynn
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This study evaluated photographs used in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report in stories about biotechnology and food safety issues from the years 2000 and 2001. This study implemented a semiotic methodology to determine if the messages conveyed by the photographs positively or negatively communicated agricultural issues. This research found that the news magazines had a balanced number of positive and negative photographs. Data indicated that many of the photographs involved similar subjects and, therefore, could be promoting stereotypes. This research also examined the technical methods used by photographers and found that the majority of the photographs were taken with very similar camera settings. This study also found that magazines use a large number of staged shots as opposed to a more documentary style. This staging indicates that photographers have control in the messages communicated to the viewer of the photograph.