Bloggers as Citizen Journalists: The 2012 Pink Slime Incident
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People can instantly access the Internet, and free publishing software available to users provides opportunities to create and share content that can affect not only the U.S. food system but also consumer perceptions about ground beef. In the dynamic environment of the Internet it is increasingly important to understand the information about the U.S. food system and, more specifically, ground beef. The purpose of this study was to examine the 2012 pink slime incident using qualitative analysis to understand what bloggers said about the food issue. Pink slime is a nickname for the beef byproduct labeled lean finely textured beef (LFTB) by the beef industry in the early 1990s. LFTB is beef that has been separated from fat and added to ground beef to make lean affordable beef blends. News reports questioning the safety and quality of LFTB began in March 2012. A qualitative content analysis was performed on 44 blogs that mentioned the pink slime incident between March 1, 2012 and April 30, 2012. Google blogs, a feature of Google,was used to collect the sample by searching for blogs that referenced pink slime orLFTB. A data-gathering guide and a reflexive journal were used to record data and to chronicle the research process. Results showed bloggers positively and negatively framed the beef product, and the primary issues of concern were welfare, consequence, expertise, and conspiracy.
Pannone, Anthony (2013). Bloggers as Citizen Journalists: The 2012 Pink Slime Incident. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from