Looking Elsewhere at the Menu Labeling Debate
When many people think of Tennessee, they think of the Deep South and the stereotypes that come with it, including warm hospitality and delicious (read: fattening) southern food. Southerners love to eat - isn’t that the truth?
Did you know Tennessee is considering menu labeling requirements for chain restaurants?
What - you might wonder - would the debate look like there? How would it be different from what’s been going on in Oregon and right here on this site?
Two headlines from the Nashville and Memphis papers will give you an idea of where they’re going:
The Nashville Tennessean: Restaurant industry wants to tamper with menu labeling
The Memphis Commercial Appeal: Bill to ban nutrition information requirement advances
The comments at the end of these articles are also insightful, and give a glimpse into the way the menu labeling debate plays out with newspaper readers.
The fact that a state known for ribs, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and other traditional country meals is looking at menu labeling can help re-shape our own perceptions (and prejudices) about Tennessee.
And what about that news coverage?
Newspapers and television stations can cover issues from many different angles. A single story, covered using different types of words and images, can be seen very differently. Framing the issue can change the way we think about the causes and solutions to a problem.
By writing about menu labeling from the perspective of nutrition, a paper frames the story around public health. By focusing on restaurant associations blocking legislation for their own interests, it’s more about a consumer’s “right to know.”
How would you frame the issue?
Take the poll: