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Sources and coverage of medical news on front pages of US newspapers

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • Background

    Medical news that appears on newspaper front pages is intended to reach a wide audience, but how this type of

    medical news is prepared and distributed has not been systematically researched. We thus quantified the level of visibility achieved by front-page medical stories in the United States and analyzed their news sources.

    Methodology

    Using the online resource Newseum, we investigated front-page newspaper coverage of four prominent medical

    stories, and a high-profile non-medical news story as a control, reported in the US in 2007. Two characteristics

    were quantified by two raters: which newspaper titles carried each target front-page story (interrater agreement, >96%; kappa, >0.92) and the news sources of each target story (interrater agreement, >94%; kappa, >0.91). National rankings of the top 200 US newspapers by audited circulation were used to quantify the extent of coverage as the proportion of the total circulation of ranked newspapers in Newseum.

    Findings

    In total, 1630 front pages were searched. Each medical story appeared on the front pages of 85 to 117 (67.5%–

    78.7%) ranked newspaper titles that had a cumulative daily circulation of 23.1 to 33.4 million, or 61.8% to

    88.4% of all newspapers. In contrast, the non-medical story achieved front-page coverage in 152 (99.3%)

    newspaper titles with a total circulation of 41.0 million, or 99.8% of all newspapers. Front-page medical stories

    varied in their sources, but the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and the Associated Press

    together supplied 61.7% of the total coverage of target front-page medical stories.

    Conclusion

    Front-page coverage of medical news from different sources is more accurately revealed by analysis of circulation counts rather than of newspaper titles. Journals wishing to widen knowledge of research news and organizations with important health announcements should target at least the four dominant media organizations identified in this study.

UOW Authors


  •   Lai, William Y.Y. (external author)
  •   Lane, Trevor (external author)
  •   Jones, Alison

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Lai, W. Y.Y., Lane, T. & JONES, A. LINDA. (2009). Sources and coverage of medical news on front pages of US newspapers. PLoS ONE, 4 (9), (e6856) 1-12.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-70149112113

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1182&context=medpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/medpapers/178

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • (e6856) 1

End Page


  • 12

Volume


  • 4

Issue


  • 9

Abstract


  • Background

    Medical news that appears on newspaper front pages is intended to reach a wide audience, but how this type of

    medical news is prepared and distributed has not been systematically researched. We thus quantified the level of visibility achieved by front-page medical stories in the United States and analyzed their news sources.

    Methodology

    Using the online resource Newseum, we investigated front-page newspaper coverage of four prominent medical

    stories, and a high-profile non-medical news story as a control, reported in the US in 2007. Two characteristics

    were quantified by two raters: which newspaper titles carried each target front-page story (interrater agreement, >96%; kappa, >0.92) and the news sources of each target story (interrater agreement, >94%; kappa, >0.91). National rankings of the top 200 US newspapers by audited circulation were used to quantify the extent of coverage as the proportion of the total circulation of ranked newspapers in Newseum.

    Findings

    In total, 1630 front pages were searched. Each medical story appeared on the front pages of 85 to 117 (67.5%–

    78.7%) ranked newspaper titles that had a cumulative daily circulation of 23.1 to 33.4 million, or 61.8% to

    88.4% of all newspapers. In contrast, the non-medical story achieved front-page coverage in 152 (99.3%)

    newspaper titles with a total circulation of 41.0 million, or 99.8% of all newspapers. Front-page medical stories

    varied in their sources, but the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and the Associated Press

    together supplied 61.7% of the total coverage of target front-page medical stories.

    Conclusion

    Front-page coverage of medical news from different sources is more accurately revealed by analysis of circulation counts rather than of newspaper titles. Journals wishing to widen knowledge of research news and organizations with important health announcements should target at least the four dominant media organizations identified in this study.

UOW Authors


  •   Lai, William Y.Y. (external author)
  •   Lane, Trevor (external author)
  •   Jones, Alison

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Lai, W. Y.Y., Lane, T. & JONES, A. LINDA. (2009). Sources and coverage of medical news on front pages of US newspapers. PLoS ONE, 4 (9), (e6856) 1-12.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-70149112113

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1182&context=medpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/medpapers/178

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • (e6856) 1

End Page


  • 12

Volume


  • 4

Issue


  • 9