Analyzing a Vegan News Story

The health benefits of going vegan. What makes people thrive on a vegan diet? What makes others feel sick on a vegan diet? Are the health benefits often associated with being vegan truly due to the diet, or are they due to those who follow a vegan diet often being more focused on all around health and wellness?

In this article titled “Are there health benefits to going vegan?” written by Jessica Brown for BBC in January of 2020, the benefits and downfalls of a vegan diet are analyzed to help one determine whether or not a vegan diet is truly a healthy option.

But, how does this article actually do at reporting on an often controversial topic? In this weeks blog post, we are going to take a deeper look at Brown’s successes and failures and analyze the quality and credibility that her article has to offer.

A success of Brown’s is the ample amount of sources included in the article, all of which appear to be mostly credible.  The best sources Brown utilized would be research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, studies shared by AHA Journals, alongside other research papers and studies published in academic journals. Alongside these credible sources, Brown also quoted other BBC articles she had published herself, such as this one pertaining to how much protein we actually need to be consuming.

While quoting oneself does not necessarily look good when thinking of bias, Brown does still include a good amount of easy to access research based information in her article. All of the sources are linked directly in the article when referenced, and each link takes readers directly to the source of the claim Brown was addressing. Out of about 8 sources, I only had trouble accessing one which was an article posted to a site designed specifically for academic sources. In addition to this, Brown does not try to conceal when she references her own articles – It is incredibly clear as soon as it is accessed that the contend was published by herself.

When considering author Jessica Brown’s credibility separately from her sources, I believe it gets a bit more gray. While Brown does seem to portray a very even field for the analysis of the health benefits of a vegan diet in this article, looking at her other works provides a unique perspective on her own feelings towards veganism. While I cannot definitively say whether or not Jessica Brown is a practicing member of the vegan community, I can say that she does seem to be particularly interested in the culture (take a look at an interview she conducted here with a vegan psychologist).

I believe that Brown withholds her credibility, because while it’s clear she she is interested in veganism it isn’t completely clear where she lies on the issue – Reporting on the good, but also ofter covering the bad too. With Brown’s sources and her background both showing an information based view point, I think she is incredibly successful on presenting ideas in a way that does not seem biased but rather just very well informed.

Throughout the piece Brown addresses the possible deficiencies that can be seen with a vegan diet, as well as how simple it can be to supplement for these deficiencies, alongside the fact that deficiencies can be present in any sort of diet. Brown does an exceptional job of attacking arguments from multiple perspectives rather than leaving them open ended, and gives solutions and perspectives that guide readers to the real answer to the question – Is a vegan diet healthy?

Brown answers her question clearly – any diet can be unhealthy, whether it be omnivore, vegan, carnivore, or pescatarian. There are benefits and downfalls to each type of diet, and aiming for balance is the best we can do for ourselves. Brown guides readers to this conclusion not by sharing her opinion, but by sharing research and education gathered from all sides rather than just her own feelings and beliefs.

If I were to give this article a letter grade, I would give it a solid A. Jessica Brown’s article comes from a place that feels like a level playing field for all points of view rather than a place where bias is heavy either way. I think this article shows a good example of citing credible sources and gathering information from multiple perspectives, and how that can be presented in a way that does not pull towards any of the ideologies or diets. Whether or not there are health benefits to going vegan over other diets is debatable, but this article’s ability to present the information in a clear and non biased manner is not.