Food accessibility on digital press: framing and representation of hunger in Spain

Food accessibility on digital press: framing and representation of hunger in Spain

Flora Marín-Murillo1
José Ignacio Armentia-Vizuete1
Iñigo Marauri-Castillo1
María del Mar Rodríguez-González1

1University of the Basque Country/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain

Introduction. The main objective of this paper is to analyse the relevance that Spanish digital newspapers grant to the struggles of a part of the Spanish population to access a sufficient nutrition. Concepts like hidden hunger and food accessibility are used to understand this.
Methodology. the contents published in 2017 by our digital mastheads (elpais.com, lavanguardia.com, abc.es and eldiario.es) were analysed by means of content analysis and the framing theory.
Results and conclusions. The findings of this study disclose the complexity of the subject and the diversity of framings: Solidarity, Hunger/ Famine, Waste and Access. Likewise, a translation from the international to the national scope is confirmed. The hunger in Spain is a “hidden hunger” and it is constructed as a problem that impacts “disadvantaged” individuals, faceless, where causes are generally avoided, and the solutions are monopolised by supportive initiatives.

KEYWORDS: hunger; framing; food accessibility; digital press.

Introducción. El objetivo principal de este trabajo es conocer la relevancia que los diarios digitales españoles dan a las dificultades de una parte de la población española para acceder a una alimentación suficiente. Se toman en cuenta para ello conceptos como hambre oculta y accesibilidad alimentaria.
Metodología. Se han analizado los contenidos publicados en 2017 por cuatro cabeceras digitales (elpais.com, lavanguardia.com, abc.es y eldiario.es) por medio del análisis de contenido y la teoría del framing.
Resultados y conclusiones. De esta investigación se desprende la complejidad del tema y la diversidad de encuadres: Solidaridad, Hambre/Hambruna, Despilfarro y Acceso. Asimismo, se constata una traslación del ámbito internacional al nacional. El hambre en España es un “hambre oculta” y se construye como un problema que afecta a individuos “desfavorecidos”, sin rostro, donde las causas se eluden generalmente y las soluciones son monopolizadas por las iniciativas solidarias.

PALABRAS CLAVE: hambre; encuadre; accesibilidad alimentaria; prensa digital.

Flora Marín-Murillo. University of the Basque Country/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain.
José Ignacio Armentia-Vizuete. Universidad del País Vasco/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). España.
Iñigo Marauri-Castillo. University of the Basque Country/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain.
María del Mar Rodríguez-González. University of the Basque Country/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain.

Received: 15/04/2019.
Accepted: 17/10/2019.
Published: 15/01/2020.

This article is part of the project “Food Security and Digital Media: Themes, new sources and services”. This project, with reference CSO2017-82853-R, has obtained funding in the convocation 2017 of R+D+i projects of the state programme of Research, Development and Innovation oriented to the challenges that the society promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. The authors are part of the Research Group MediaIker (reference GIU16/08).

How to cite this article / Standard reference: Marín-Murillo, F., Armentia-Vizuete, J. L., Marauri-Castillo, I & Rodríguez-González, M. N. (2020). Food accessibility on digital press: framing and representation of hunger in Spain. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 75, 169-187. https://www.doi.org/10.4185/RLCS-2020-1421

1. Introduction. 2. Objectives and hypothesis. 3. Methodology. 4. Results. 4.1. Relevance of food subjects. 4.2. Accessibility: thematic framings and geographic scope. 4.3. The media construction of “local hunger”. 5. Discussion and conclusions. 6. References.

Article translated by Yuhanny Henares (Academic translator, Universitat de Barcelona).

1. Introduction

The problems to obtain food are associated to poor or developing countries. However, the difficulty to guarantee food access, specifically the healthiest products, is also a reality in the most industrialised or developed countries.
The Argentinean journalist and writer Martín Caparrós writes in his book El Hambre that the concept entitling his book is a metaphor of many things and among them, the division: “A blunt barrier between them and us, those who have and those who do not (...)” (Caparrós, 2014, p. 520). This barrier, that it is not only symbolic, but it is often physical and erects between countries, like Nigeria, Sudan or Afghanistan, begins to blur. Due to the economic crisis, precariousness, neoliberal policies, real-estate bubble, cuts in social assistance, among other factors, there produced in the developed countries, what the FAO describes as “hidden hunger” in its Glossary Website. This modality of hunger is “understood as the sustained lack of vitamin and mineral contribution in relation to the needs of a person. The most prevalent deficiencies worldwide are iron, iodine and vitamin A” (http://www.fao.org/faoterm/es/?defaultCollId=6). It is estimated that in the world there are 2,000 million people with iron deficiency, mostly women and children. About 1,500 million have a iodine deficiency and 800 million have Vitamin A deficiency. These deficiencies may be present regardless of an adequate energy intake. This adjective of hidden or undercover hunger is due to the fact that often, in mild cases, no visible signs are noted; and even when the situation gets worse the patients are not quite aware of it, because they do not have enough information to identify the associated physical symptoms.
Obesity is not only not incompatible with the hidden hunger. Increasingly more people with overweight in developed countries suffer an excessive intake of calories and an evident lack of nutrients. In short, they suffer malnutrition and are victims of this “hidden hunger”.
The hunger problem is not only about not producing enough food in the world, but instead the struggles that more and more, a greater part of the population, undergo to have access to food. Therefore, there is a close relationship between the concepts of hunger and food accessibility. “Without solving this question, the greatest non-contagious pandemics that humanity suffers will keep growing and, as a result, if food security is not achieved, the peace and safety of the world might be at stake” (Castro, 2013, p. 12).
Food is a right that was already included in article 25 of the Declaration of Human Rights, and since then it has been reformulated and adapted through international commitments and agreements.
In the year 2013, the UN rapporteur, Jean Ziegler, defined it as the right to have access, on a regular, permanent and free manner, either directly or through purchase using money, to a quantitative and qualitative adequate and sufficient diet, that corresponds to the cultural traditions of the population the consumer belongs to and that guarantees a mental and physical life, both individual and collective, without distress, satisfactory and dignified. (Ziegler, 2003).
The media have an undeniable responsibility before this complex reality. The information about food security and, therefore, on food, nutrition, gastronomy, food industry, etc., has increased its presence on media in a noteworthy manner. Thus, it is indicated by the different reports elaborated around this subject in Spain (Elika, 2013; 2014; 2015; 2016).
In 1996, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, defined the concept of Food Security as the situation where “all individuals, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, innocuous and nutritious food, that meet their daily energy dietary needs to keep a healthy and active life” (FAO, 1996). It is necessary to nuance that this concept is different from “Food Safety”, that circumscribes to the innocuousness of food, their healthiness, and that it is the meaning most often associated in Spanish to the phrase Food Security.
From the themes about Food that have been and still are object of study, the accessibility as concept that encompasses a overview of realities - the food shortage, the waste, the scarcity or the difficulties to food access- have received an uneven attention from the communicational perspective.
The most extreme aspect linked to accessibility is hunger. It is a subjective and mediatic term that FAO defines as “the shortage of basic food causing scarcity and generalised misery”. Likewise, the famine is the “result of a sequence of processes and events that reduces the availability of food or the right for food, causing a noticeable and disseminated increase of morbidity and mortality”. (FAO, http://www.fao.org/3/a-at772s.pdf). The famine is associated to conflicts and natural catastrophes, usually droughts, and the solutions are oriented today to the application of policies and programmes along with the mobilisation of enough resources.
The reports that the magazine Life published in July 1968 about Biafra and that Michael Buerk from BBC edited about the “biblic famine” of Ethiopia, in October 1984, indicate the origin of famine as a media phenomenon. As the most extreme expression of accessibility, the informational treatment of hunger is analysed inside and outside our frontiers by different authors and from different perspectives. Thus, in the international scope the work of Odesanya et al. (2015) about the coverage made by The Guardian on Food security in Nigeria stands out, or the contribution to the media treatment of American Media about hunger in the Horn of Africa (Sorenson, 1991). Visually, the construction of the image of hunger is treated by Clark (2004) through the analysis of the polemic images made by Mekanic Philipos of a baby suffering malnutrition in the therapeutic centre of Yirba near Aswan.
From the Spanish university the valuable contribution of Susana Morais (2015) about the representation of hunger in El País and The New York Times is noteworthy.
The studies handling about the media treatment of the “hidden hunger” in Spain are less frequent. Therefore, the interest of the chapter that Gracia-Arnaiz and García-Oliva (2017) dedicate to the rhetorics of hunger at home in the digital Spanish press, where there appear the first articles on the issue in 2009, initiating a trend that becomes significant during 2012-2013, according to the authors (2017, p. 170).

2. Objectives and hypothesis

Therefore, this study aims to fill the gap about the presence and treatment of food accessibility in the main Spanish media.
The objectives suggested are the following:

The accomplishment of the proposed objectives aim to confirm or reject the following hypotheses:

3. Methodology

The digital press is the medium selected to conduct this study. The dissemination data support the expansion of the digital versions of the mainstream newspapers and the native publications versus the diminishing printed offer. According to the annual reports of the Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AEDE), the Spanish press lost 1,561,803 copies, 38% of its publication, in the period ranging from 2001-2013 (2016, p. 81).
This decreasing trend maintains today. According to data from OJD (www.ojd.es), during this century, the total dissemination of the Spanish press reduced from 4,107,959 copies to 1,865,583, a drop of 54%.
The newspaper selected for the study are a native digital, eldiario.es, and the digital versions of three printed newspapers: abc.es, lavanguardia.com and elpais.com. The four of them were among the ten digital Spanish newspapers with greater audience on November 2017, according to ComScore, the agency commissioned by the Media Research Association (AIMC) to track measurements of information consumption from the different digital media.
The selection of the object of analysis ranges from January 1 until December 31, 2017, and gathers information published in this period related to food accessibility. To perform this task, the following keywords were inserted in the search engines of the media: agriculture, food, feeding, allergy, diet, livestock, gastronomy, hunger, food industry, nutrition, obese, obesity, fishing and food security.
The methodological tool selected was content analysis. The rationale, as authors like Walitzer and Wienir (1978); Krippendorf (1980); Kerlinger (1986) or Bardin (1996) advocate, is that it allows the researcher to systematise and quantify contents, in this case about accessibility, and its contextualisation within a more generic framework like Food.
The framings that correspond to the field of accessibility have been induced based on the definition offered by FAO (1996) and the reading of selected contents. This reading is guided by the tools and devices proposed by authors like Entman (1993), Gamsom and Modigliani, (1989), and Tankard (2001) for the definition of newsworthy framings, mainly paying attention to the inclusion of keywords in the headings, recognition of protagonists, sources and arguments.
From there, a template has been designed, specifying the framings used in each one of the contents, along with the geographical scope referred in the information: national, international or hybrid.
Once the contents of international and hybrid scope have been excluded, an analysis of the discourses of national scope is conducted. It is not only about identifying the newsworthy framings of information, but about establishing an analysis that quantifies and, at the same time, describes the identification of affected people, the proposal of solutions and the exposures of the causes considering the aforementioned elements.

4. Results

4.1. Relevance of the themes about food

During 2017, in the four newspapers there were published a total of 4,517 contents related to food. The distribution is somewhat uneven, because while in abc.es the 2,023 pieces are found, in elpais.com there are 466. Above the latter there is lavanguardia.com, which offers 753 contents and eldiario.es with 1,275. The abundance of contents in abc.es is due, to a great extent, to the insertion of information coming from other provincial and regional information coming from the Vocento Group.
The themes about food are steadily present and with few variations during the months studied. In fact, the global numbers range from the 361 contents in January to the 429 contents of May.
Regarding themes, the accessibility, as observed in Graphic 1, leads one out of every ten contents published about food in the main Spanish digital newspapers, above Food Security and Risk (8%), and below the Food Industry (15%), Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing (19%), Nutrition (23%) and Gastronomy (25%).

Source: authors own creation.
Graphic 1. Distribution by themes (%).

Although there are visible oscillations from one month to another, the steady publication of this sort of contents during 2017 is confirmed. The variations between media analysed are minimal, at least, between three of the four newspapers. Abc.es and lavanguardia.com publish 133 contents each, while eldiario.es reaches 120. The greatest difference is found in elpais.com, which number of contents remains in 74.
These differences are inverted if the proportion of this sort of content is considered as reference versus the total count of each newspaper. Thus, abc.es is left behind, which percentage of contents on accessibility compared to the total is 6.5%. In eldiario.es the proportion increases to 9.5%, while in lavanguardia.com it increases to 17.7%, almost two points more than elpais.com (16%).
Since there is lack of a more diachronic study we can say, considering other studies, that texts related to accessibility have increased their presence both in online as well as mainstream press in the past years. Thus, in 2012, the Report Elika referring to the presence of contents on food security in 9 newspapers published in the Basque Country or edited in that autonomy, positioned accessibility in the third place among the most recurrent themes, with 132 articles. The authors pointed out the economic crisis as the direct cause of this increase: “The economic crisis, that hinders the access of sectors of the population to food, has leveraged accessibility” (Elika, 2012).
Considering the digital press, the work of Gracia and García, cited earlier, states the progressive increase of contents about the incidence of crisis in food habits after 2009: “the chronological analysis indicates that, before 2009, there are barely references, starting to grow by the end of that year and the early 2010, having a significant presence since 2012-13” (2009, p. 170).

Table 1. Distribution on contents about food accessibility by months.
Source: authors own creation.

4.2. Accessibility: thematic framings and geographical scope

The physical and economic access to food is reflected on media through the different information pieces that refer to the consequences derived from the struggles to achieve an adequate diet as well as the solutions proposed to enable that supply.

Source: authors own creation.
Graphic 2. Framings on accessibility.

From these variaty of perspectives, four framings were induced, that cover the category Accessibility and its informational management. Solidarity is one of them. Before the impossibility of meeting the dietary needs of the population, the food banks, the feeding centres and all sorts of public or private solidarity initiatives are newsworthy on media. This framing, the most used, appears in 45% of information pieces on accessibility. On December, the food gathering campaigns become more intense and this makes it the period with more content.
Banks, supermarkets of the food industry often occupy the leading role of solidarity actions in headlines: “What Mercadona does with the unsold food?” (abc.es, 04/12/2017); “Danone and Food Bank of Madrid join together again in the solidarity initiative ‘Suitcases against hunger’” (lavanguardia.com, 08/06/2017).This controverted symbiosis between markets and social assistance makes room to interesting reflections and concepts: “Brand Aid” by Richey and Ponte, (2011), the “philanthrocapitalism” by Edwards, (2010), or the “Values Marketing” by Lipovetsky (2000).
The great majority of texts are recent news and there barely appear opinion articles.

Source: authors own creation.
Graphic 3. % Thematic framings.

The hunger and/ or famine is a problem that mainly affects the African continent and, to a lesser extent, Asia and South America. 32% of texts incide in this framing. The tone of these contents is denouncement and the political dimension is prioritised, without omitting the social and economic scope. The humanitarian crises in some regions like Somalia, Nigeria and, for abc.es, Venezuela, generate a steady dripping of news where there is an analysis and the report of the risk situation that impacts the civil population, using the term “famine”.
For elpais.com hunger is the framing of greater relevance in 2017 with 69% of contents, very distant from the 29% of abc.es, 28% of eldiario.es and 17% of lavanguardia.com, mastheads that prioritise the Solidarity framing.
Morais (2015) in her thesis about the representation of hunger in the press of reference understands that “when the Crisis stage is introduced as prominent, the factors of circumstantial nature are highlighted and those of structural nature barely occupy a second plane that contrasts with the determinant role that studies available today repeatedly mention about hunger”. (2015, p. 365). However, in an overview of the framing of Hunger/ famine, it is confirmed that it moves beyond the immediate present to echo on the opinions and reports of greater impact. The articles of opinion and collaborations are more frequent in this section and are generally signed by activists of NGOs or managers and collaborators of international institutions like FAO. When analysing these media, there is no doubt that hunger, associated with food sovereignty, violence and concern for the climate change as triggering elements of some of these tragic situations, has been settling in the media agenda. The access to food conceived as a fundamental right of man also makes room to some reflections.
Another of the framings associated to accessibility is Waste. It’s relevance in Spain is not by accident, the seventh country of Europe wasting more food, specifically 7.7 million tons. On individual terms, it would mean about 63 kilos per person per year. Thus, the relevance of making the most of the exceeding amounts and the waste and the measures to avoid it: “Change.org has been changing the world for 7 years (thanks to you)” (elpais.com, 22/11/2017), “Solidarian Fridge: objective, do not waste food” (lavanguardia.com, 06/01/2017).
Despite that there is published information complaining about waste and the misuse of resources with a clear vocation of social consciousness, this framing is the least used, with a scarce 9% of contents.
The last framing has been called Access. It is expected that for 2050 the population will increase to 10,000 million, the problem that arises is how to meet their dietary needs. To feed 2,000 more people, the production of food would need to increase 50% worldwide. The texts that denounce this situation or that inform about researches or actions targeted to an intelligent management of resources are included in this category: “More people, more food, worst water?” (elpais.com, 30/08/2017); “Will we be too many for the planet? 11,200 million people in the year 2100” (abc.es, 12/07/2017).
Also, in this framing there is direct reference to shortage, as a scarcity or lacking of something, due to the extension of supplies and the increase of their prices, always driven by the incidence of specific climate accidents: “The price of vegetables increases dramatically due to the cold weather” (lavanguardia.com, 24/01/2017); “Portugal suggests to cut off water supply at night due to the severe drought” (abc.es, 12/07/2017). Another dimension of Access emphasises on the accessibility favoured or hindered by legal decisions, like tax deductions: “The ombudsman requests tax deductions that compensate the expenses of celiacs” (lavanguardia.com, 27/04/2017).
These contents, even though they are not the ones that stand out the most, represent 14% of information pieces, and have a diverse presence in each one of the analysed media: from the 18 and 19% of abc.es and el país.com to the 10 and 11% of lavanguardia.com and eldiario.es.

4.3. Geographical scope

For many years accessibility has been related to hunger in the so-called Third World, caused by the massive displacements driven by violent and sometimes tribal conflicts, droughts or natural disasters. However, today its area of influence has reached developed countries in the form of malnutrition and obesity.

Source: authors own creation.
Graphic 4. Accessibility: Geographical scope.

In 37% of texts, the geographical scope managed by information is international, positioned first and foremost in Asia or Africa, and to a lower extent in the Caribbean countries. This percentage is twice higher in elpais.com (73%), it is slightly superior in abc.es (39%) and eldiario.es (34%); and reduces in the case of lavanguardia.com to a 19%. In the case of elpais.com, more than 50% are positioned in the African continent and are focused on the region of the watershed of Lake Chad. Different collaborators, like Jose Graziano da Silva, General Director of the United Nations for Food and Agriculture Organisation - FAO-, or Enrique Yeves, director of Communication of that organisation, among others, reflect upon the famine in that region, its causes, consequences and measures to alleviate it.
Abc.es opts for South America and focuses on Venezuela. 50% of its international information pieces come from there, authored by Ludmila Vinogradoff, correspondent in that country. In these news there is reference to the scarcity of food as well as medicine, and deal with different sections including the crime section – “Murders increase in Venezuela due to hunger” (03/01/207), “A national guard kills a pregnant woman during the distribution of hams in Venezuela” (31/12/2017)- up to the many manifestations produced against shortage and restrictions: “The manifestations due to lack of food, water and gas extend across Venezuela”, (29/12/2017). Venezuela and Accessibility is a recurrent bundle in 2017 in this medium.
The information pieces qualified as hybrid are those subscribed within a geographical framework shared between Spain and Europe or the rest of the world and represent 11% of contents.
In global terms, the reach of the national information on this subject with an implementation of 52% must be highlighted, 237 contents. These are distributed in a rather uneven manner by subthemes. Thus, information pieces that refer to Solidarity a 78% (184) stand out, followed by Waste with an 11% (26) and Access with a 9% (21). Much less frequent are the news explicitely related to hunger, where only 6 are accounted for, that is, a meagre 2%. This percentage contrasts with the 62% of the presence of this subtheme in an international scope.

4.4. The media construction of the “local hunger”

In Spain, according to the Social State of the Nation Report 2017, 2.6% of homes cannot afford eating meat, poultry or fish at least once every two days: it is almost half million homes (477,000) where an adequate diet cannot be guaranteed; in these homes, there live more than one million people (1.2 millions), boys and girls among them. Although there are studies that multiply these official numbers by four and estimate there are 12.4% of homes that cannot follow an adequate diet, and in 13.8% that cannot eat meat, poultry or fish at least three times per week. (2017, p. 6)
These people suffer “hidden hunger”, but at the same time it is confirmed that this scarcity of dietary resources, who and why people suffer it, is also invisible for the society in general. Therefore, in Spain hunger is doubly hidden.
Despite that only in 6 out of the 237 texts frameworked within the national scope, the central theme is hunger, that term appears in the headline in 11 occasions; even though only in one of them there is explicit reference to the hidden hunger: “Social entities warn about the existence of “hidden hunger” worsened by the economic crisis” (eldiario.es, 26/05/2017). The article cites the report Fam oculta a Catalunya, un obstacle en la igualtat d´oportunitats (May, 2017) where there is manifested “a steady and sufficient lacking, in a significant part of respondents, of micro-nutrients involved the most on clinical symptoms of hidden hunger (vitamins A, iron and zinc), besides others” (2017, p. 19).
People affected by food insecurity are identified in the headline in 18% (42) of information pieces. These are collectives and mainly families, that are qualified as “vulnerable”, under “risk of exclusion”, “disadvantaged”, “in need” or simply “poor”, with children or minors as the group with the highest number of mentions. We must not forget that in the UNICEF report dated April 2017, Children of Austerity: Impact of the Great Recession on child poverty in rich countries, it is said that “Spain shows one of the highest rates of child poverty among the studied countries and from the whole EU: it is the third country both in terms of relative poverty as well as ‘anchored poverty’ (in both cases, only behind Romania and Greece). The ‘anchored’ poverty reached in Spain almost 40% of children population, with an increase of 9 points between 2008 and 2014” (in https://www.unicef.es/nota-de-prensa/la-crisis-internacional-y-laausteridad-golpean-los-ninos-en-paises-de-altos).
On all headlines, these people are the indirect subjects of the phrase, since they are mentioned as passive subjects, merely recipients of the social assistance: “Global Omnium collaborates with Educo to increase the access of disadvantages families to the school canteen” (abc.es, 31/03/2017); “Sabadell promotes a new scoring system to distribute food among vulnerable families” (lavanguardia.com, 19/10/2017).
Sometimes they are scored with a number that varies depending on the Autonomous Community, or the NGO that serves as source: “More than 2,000 families in the Canary Islands received food from Cruz Roja in the past month” (eldiario.es, 26/12/2017); “Cruz Roja helps 90,000 inhabitants from Alicante more compared to the past year and 2,400 nursing infants” (abc.es, 04/05/2017).
Only in 3 texts there is identification of the subject, and even names the people affected by hunger. It is about the scarce reports of human interest that manage the problem of hunger in Spain: “Sometimes, we do not eat because we cannot even pay the electricity, we only have blankets to warm our three kids” (eldiario.es, 15/12/2017); “The difficulties to feed my daughters are still the same or similar” (eldiario.es, 25/05/2017); “We are going to starve” (eldiario.es, 01/02/2017). The NGO questioned about treatment that should be given to the child poverty in Spain highlighted the relevant of this sort of contents, because “it is about humanising the numbers, those that hide personal stories behind, actual lives that aim to end the situation of precariousness they experience and for whom a responsible journalistic management can be of assistance” (San Felipe and Mariño, 2016, p. 85).
The 184 texts (78%) that manage the subject of solidarity are focused on spreading the different initiatives that are performed, at regional or national scope, through Banco de Alimentos, Cáritas or Cruz Roja along with companies; or particular individuals targeted to collecting either food or money to alleviate the food supply and other basic needs. Including the struggles faced by some campaigns to, for instance, find enough volunteers -“Great Food Collection requires 22,000 volunteers to achieve 2.5 million food” (lavanguardia.com, 17/10/2017)- or the awards that specific initiatives receive are newsworthy –“The plantain farmers receive the ‘Espiga de Or’ award from Food Banks” (eldiario.es, 25/10/2017)-.
It is noteworthy that 13% (23) of contents about solidarity have multinationals, branded products, banks and supermarkets as leading figures, which under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility, they contribute to the cause at the same time they advertise themselves. The “Study about poverty and diet” is quite paradoxical, conducted by the breakfast cereal company Kellogg’s on the occasion of the World Food Day, where it is reported that 38% of respondents want their family to have a healthy diet, but cannot afford it. Likewise, they state that for “82% of Spanish the breakfast is the most important food of the day” and that “23% of parents state to receive assistance to feed their family at least once a month” (abc.es, 16/10/2017). The dietician-nutritionist Juan Revenga promotes in Change.org an initiative to end these interest-driven collaborations between healthcare institutions and the food industry.
This profusion of supportive contents unavoidably contributes to build an image of this hunger as a problem of individual nature, where charity has traditionally replaced institutional responsibility. Some headlines are very clear in this sense: “Parish Pious Ana María Mogas: commissary of bread and charity” (abc.es, 01/04/2017); “A total of 200 people without resources will taste the menu of Martín Berasategui on Christmas Eve for Mensajeros de la Paz” (lavanguardia.com, 13/12/2017). If during the sixties, the director Luis García Berlanga made a demolishing social critique in Plácido (1961), introducing a poor at the tablet of the Spanish burgeoisie, in the 21st century this image, without irony, comes back to the social imagery covered by solidarity.
Exceptionally, the digital press questions this contradiction in some investigative reporting, like “Poverty in the Canary Islands (IV): the right for food, between business and charity” (eldiario.es, 19/12/2017).
Only in 11% (27) of information pieces about accessibility at a national scope, focus their attention on institutions and public powers. Even when this happens, the contents deal with restrictions and/ or public benefits to non-profit organisations: “The PSOE presents in the Congress a proposal so that the Government promotes the donation of food and avoids its wasting” (lavanguardia.com, 09/03/2017). Less frequent are the texts that reproduce legislative proposals to facilitate the access of the population to food: “The obdusman requests for tax deduction to compensate the expenses of celiacs” (lavanguardia.com, 27/04/2017); “The subsidies for home and food to vulnerable people, will be a right” (abc.es, 24/03/2017).
The texts that make the “local hunger” visible as a structural problem, delving into its roots and offering political solutions such as the minimal guaranteed income, or denouncing what is considered a social injustice are a minority, barely 8% (20). In them, the chronification of people in situation of social exclusion is highlighted, and there is even an alert about a “state that brings along both physical and mental changes and that, gets worse over time”. (eldiario.es, 16/02/2017). In these cases, the sources are the NGO, who elaborate statistics and periodical reports about the profile of affected people.
The economic crisis after 2008, the lack of enough income or the labour precariousness are some of the causes mentioned. Likewise, the difficulty to quantify hunger is confirmed: “There are no official data about hunger in Spain, there are only poverty indicators. Thus, within the bundle of the habit of shortage, hunger is something confusing, that is often taken for granted, but on which there is rarely focus on”, says Arianna Giménez, creator of the multimedia project Hungerland (elpais.com, 02/03/2017).
The synergies between the “hidden hunger”, malnutrition and obesity are disclosed in the article “The families with low income live less due to poor food intake” (elpais.com, 17/02/2017). The increase of the price of healthy food compared to the low prices of processed food has forced families with lower incomes to incorporate unhealthy food habits.
While abc.es is focused on articles on solidarity-charity, eldiario.es tends the most to offer reports of human interest, lavanguardia.com inclines for promoting the involvement of companies and their solidarity initiatives and elpais.com includes the few articles that question and delve into the “hidden hunger”.

5. Discussion and conclusions

Food accessibility, that plays the leading role in one out of ten contents linked to food in the daily newspapers studied (elpais.com, lavanguardia.com, eldiario.es and abc.es), is represented through different thematic framings: Solidarity (45%), Hunger (32%), Access (14%) and Waste (9%).
The solidarity encompasses all initiatives coming from NGOs, private companies and individuals dedicating their efforts to supply food abroad and within the country. They are the most numerous contents, followed by those that inform about hunger. These are focused on the coverage of situations of humanitarian crisis, mainly in the African continent, although Asia and America as well. The newspaper abc.es focuses its attention on Venezuela, which represents an exception in the group of media that would require a more detailed analysis.
These data show the over-exposure to the contents about solidarity, that acquire a metonymic character replacing the causes, origin and protagonists of hunger by their solutions. The hunger we have called “local” coincides to a great extent with the definition offered by FAO about “hidden hunger”. This hunger is built through the media as a problem that impacts “disadvantaged” collectives, where the solutions are left to good will and/ or private initiative; the protagonists are the companies, NGOs and altruistic individuals, keeping the “victims” in a second plane, who are only highlighted in headlines of 18% of information pieces, and in general, they are passive subjects of circumstances that seem arbitrary.
In their study about rhetorics of hunger on digital Spanish press, Gracia-Arnaiz and García-Oliva (2017) wondered whether hunger at home was real or made up and observed that media rarely deepen, especially when they deal with complex issues such as these. The economic crisis has conditioned the nutrition, the food habits and therefore, the health of most disadvantaged citizens. However, there are few official data about it. Some studies have attempted to analyse this situation (Atentas and Vivas, 2014; Serra-Majen and Castro-Quezada, 2014), but we are far from having the adequate tools available to confirm whether that “local hunger” is or is not over-dimensioned on media or whether these are relaxing their functions when profiling the actual magnitude of the problem.
Even though we agree with Gracia-Arnaiz and García-Oliva (2017) in the fact there is a very relevant stakeholder on contents about hunger, and it is the charitable, humanitarian or social action entities. These are positioned third place below other stakeholders such as victims, barely significant in our sample, and responsible or guilty parties who, again, are almost absent on texts analysed. The introduction of poverty and crisis as keywords for the search engines in their study and their absence in this paper, could have made the difference.
Access, with a 14% covers many fronts, since it encompasses all those contents related to the responsibility and the food sovereignty, but also charges to food or their shortage. In general, these are contents having a more economic or social dimension. Lastly, Waste is a framing with a marked consciousness tone, and it is the least highlighted in publications.
In terms of the food accessibility in general, what grabs the attention is that there has been a displacement of the international (37%) to the national scope (52%), leaving a 11% for those information pieces which space of influence or protagonism is shared both at national as well as international level.
The 237 texts of the national scope are distributed among the following framings: Solidarity with 78% (184), followed by Waste with 11% (26) and Access with 9% (21). Hunger is the framing with least presence, a meagre 2%, because only 6 texts handle it explicitely, although it is mentioned in the headline on 11 occasions.
The institutional responsibility, the solutions of political nature and the causes of the problem only appear mentioned in 8% of texts, which leads to a biased vision of the “local hunger” which few times is exposed as an structural problem that impacts the society.
In this regard, a more detailed study of the sources would be relevant and significant, especially to verify to what extent the scarce presence of healthcare sources, indicated by these authors, and on the contrary, the use of other sources like NGO, political and institutional influences on the social construction of “local hunger”.
This research should not end here, unless the accessibility problems, and among them the called “hidden hunger” disappear from our environment in an immediate future, which would become rather good news. While this does not happen, it is necessary to confirm how media contribute to the construction of this hunger and what are their limits and tools.


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Flora Marín Murillo: Department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising. University of the Basque Country /EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain.
In the past years her research activity has been mainly focused on the field of food and media, participating in several funded projects associated to this subject. Today she is co-PI of the project funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness about “Food Security and Digital media: themes, new sources and services” (ref. CSO2017-82853-R). Earlier, she was part of the project funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness about “The Food security in the Spanish press: strategies for the communication of Food risks” (ref. CSO2014-54385-R). She has been PI of the University-Society Project “Information about food intake in Spanish digital newspapers: contents, sections and new formats” (ref. US17/15), developed in collaboration with Fundación Eroski. She also took part in a University-Society project co-funded by ELIKA-Basque Foundation for agro-alimentary food on “Food security and Media A case study: the Basque press in 2014” (ref. US 14/13). Likewise, in the period 2012-2014 she participated in the elaboration of three reports on Food security in the Basque press for Fundación ELIKA. Between 2011 and 2013 she was member of the team who developed the project funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation about the evolution in the management of violent deaths by the Basque press. Some of the main conclusions of said study have been published in the book entitled The treatment of violent deaths on the Basque press (Servicio Editorial UPV/EHU, Leioa, 2012). Other than this, her research activity started 27 years ago with a thesis in 1992 about the representation of death in the Hitchcock cinema. After participating in several projects about the Basque cinema, her subsequent researches were targeted to the printed and digital journalism. A result of these, was the study El diario digital (Bosch, Barcelona, 2000), one of the early thorough researches published in Spain about what was considered back then as a new informational platform. One of the studies that was strongly accepted was the one about El diario de servicios en España (Septem, Oviedo, 2002) where the characteristics of said journalistic model were analysed.
H Index: 8
Orcid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2823-598X
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.es/citations?user=JPqLzHcAAAAJ&hl=es

José Ignacio Armentia-Vizuete: Department of Journalism. University of the Basque Country/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain.
PhD in Information Sciences, in the past years his studies have focused in the management of Food Security on media. As the Principal Investigator of the group MediaIker he took part in the elaboration of reports on Food Security in the Basque Press, corresponding to the period 2012-2015, promoted by Elika, The Basque Foundation for the Agro-alimentary Security. Today, he is the Principal Investigator of a project funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, entitled “Food Security and cybermedia: themes, new sources and services” (ref. CSO2017-82853-R). Earlier, he has been PI in another research project funded by MINECO about Food Security in press, and has participated in University-Society projects, in collaboration, respectively with Elika and with Fundación Eroski, related to these themes. During 2011-2014 he was the Principal Investigator of the research project funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness entitled “The evolution in the management of violent deaths in the Basque Country press”. The results of the project were published in the book entitled El tratamiento de las muertes violenta en la prensa vasca, by Universidad del País Vasco, besides being also published in different articles on scientific journals and on Congress conferences. Currently, he is the Principal Investigator of the MediaIker Group (ref. GIU16/08).
Índice H: 17
Orcid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6570-555X
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.es/citations?user=07ViZA8AAAAJ&hl=es

Iñigo Marauri Castillo: Department of Journalism II. University of the Basque Country/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain.
Iñigo Marauri Castillo is associate professor in the Faculty of Social and Communication Sciences of UPV/EHU. After fifteen years of professional experience in El Correo, El País and Consumer Eroski, he performs his teaching and research activities in areas linked to the adaptation of the journalistic editing to Internet, specialised journalism, specifically crime & events and services, and corporate communication. He has published several articles in the main communication journals of Spain. He is part of the consolidated research group MediaIker (ref. GIU16/08) and is one of the members of the team of the project funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness entitled “Food Security and Digital Media: themes, new sources and services” (ref. CSO2017-82853-R). He has taken part in other four research projects funded in competitive convocations, the last one of them in collaboration with Fundación Eroski, and also related to the informational coverage of food.
Índice H: 5
Orcid ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0883-8003
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.es/citations?user=2E7JgewAAAAJ&hl=es

María del Mar Rodríguez González: Department of Journalism II. University of the Basque Country/EuskalHerrikoUnibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). Spain.
María del Mar Rodríguez is associate professor of the Faculty of Social and Communication Sciences of UPV/EHU. Her research lines, which results were materialised into more than 15 articles in the main Spanish journals of communication, have been focused on corporate communication, particularly in the communication of crisis, crime & events journalism and the impact of Internet in the journalism of services, a field where she has developed a career of more than 10 years as contents manager of www.consumer.es. He is part of the consolidated research group MediaIker (ref. GIU16/08) and is one of the members of the team of the project funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness entitled “Food Security and Digital Media: themes, new sources and services” (ref. CSO2017-82853-R). She has participated in other two research projects funded by competitive convocations, the most recent in collaboration with Fundación Eroski and also related to the informational coverage of food.
Índice H: 6
Orcid ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9121-1468
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=KraF6dYAAAAJ&hl=es