Marijuana coverage framed differently in editorials, op-eds

[July 15, 2010]

Editorials and op-ed pages framed the debate over medical marijuana differently, using societal, legal and therapeutic frames to look at this highly-contested issue, according to a recent study published in Newspaper Research Journal.

Researcher Guy Golan conducted a content analysis of more than 100 editorial and op-ed articles and found that editorials tended to frame medical marijuana in terms of the social, political and legal implications of legalized medicinal marijuana, while op-ed pieces tended to look only at the medical implications of the debate.

Golan also found that the articles were missing opinions from prominent scientists and religious figures, as most of the articles were written by or included information from newspaper editors, academics or advocacy groups. While these results are consistent with past studies, this led to concern about the lack of balance in framing controversial public issues in newspaper editorials and op-ed pieces.

Golan is an assistant professor in the department of communication at Seton Hall University.

The study was published in the summer 2010 issue of Newspaper Research Journal.

Contacts: Sandra H. Utt Cell: (901) 628-2553 e-mail: or Elinor Kelley Grusin e-mail:


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