How America’s Wealth Gap Shows

Joshua Schackmann

Article Summary

On September 20, 2015, NPR published an article titled “How America’s Wealth Gap Shows Up On Our Dinner Plates.” The author was Maria Godoy, a writer and editor for NPR’s food blog, The Salt. In the piece, Maria talks about how a recent review of studies demonstrates that low-income Americans consume poorer quality diets than the general population. According to the article, the review determined that low-income Americans score lower than the general population on a measure of how well diets match up to federal guidelines, with those on food stamps scoring even lower than the general low-income population (Godoy, 2015). The article then features the lead researcher of the study talking about how she believes that the established nutritional disparity results from the nutritionally deficient nature of cheap foods that impoverished individuals resort to eating. The article concludes by discussing how this nutritional disparity has led the USDA to recently try new programs designed to improve eating habits amongst those on the SNAP food assistance program (Godoy, 2015).

Article Critique

The article meets journalistic standards excellently. The publisher, NPR, is a non-profit media group that receives only a small portion of its funding from corporate sponsorship and discloses and possible conflicts of interest ("Independence," n.d.; "Public Radio Finances," n.d.). The article’s author is a regular NPR writer who also edits one of their major blogs and has disclosed no conflicts of interest in the article. As for the article itself, every piece of information is based off of reliable resources that are linked to within the article. The biggest source for the story comes from a review of studies published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine by a University of Connecticut research team. Any other references that utilize statistics or make concrete assertions about the nature of poverty and obesity come from websites produced by relevant government agencies, such as the CDC and USDA. Upon reviewing Maria’s sources, I was unable to find any discrepancies between them and the article she wrote. The tone of the article is informational in nature, with the author summarizing current research and actions rather than making editorial statements, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.


The article itself is both sobering and relevant. The topic of nutrition problems among the impoverished is important to discuss both because of how widespread it is, as well as how easy it is for the populace to ignore such issues. The fact that individuals on SNAP eat even more poorly than the general low-income population (Godoy, 2015) is counter-intuitive and inspires greater investigation as to the reason behind the phenomenon. Ethics of journalism aside, there is no need for the author to color the article with her opinion because the information speaks so loudly for itself. All Maria Godoy does is compile recent news and empirically-backed research relevant to the topic and express it with language that is more digestible by the general public, including plenty of references for those that want to investigate the issue in greater depth.

References

Godoy, M. (2015, September 20). How America's Wealth Gap Shows Up On Our Dinner Plates. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/18/441143723/people-on-food-stamps-eat-less-nutritious-food-than-everyone-else


Independence. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://ethics.npr.org/category/e-independence/


Public Radio Finances. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/about-npr/178660742/public-radio-finances