A longitudinal content analysis of topic coverage and elitist frames in Gourmet magazine: 1945-2008

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A content analysis of Gourmet magazine was performed to explore topic coverage and dominant frames in the content. The first part of the study, which examined topic coverage, was informed by agenda setting theory. It was found that Gourmet set the agenda for its readers by making cooking, international travel, restaurants, and travel in the United States the most prominent topics in its pages. According to agenda setting theory, Gourmet told its readers to think about these topics when thinking about the gourmet. The second part of the study, which examined framing of feature articles, was informed by frame analysis. Articles were scanned for presence of a list of attributes that suggested either an elitist or accessible frame. It was found that most articles in Gourmet were framed as elitist, suggesting that Gourmet influenced readers' perception of the gourmet as elite. However, nearly 40% of articles were framed as accessible, suggesting that the magazine did achieve some balance between the two frames. Because the gourmet is traditionally associated with the elite, this data suggests that Gourmet was somewhat successful in making the gourmet world accessible for its readers. Making the gourmet, a lifestyle once reserved for the elite, more accessible to Americans was the magazine's founding principle.

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