Making News: The appearance of tobacco control organizations in newspaper coverage of tobacco control issues
Wakefield, M and Brennan, E and Durkin, K and McLeod, K and Smith, KC, Making News: The appearance of tobacco control organizations in newspaper coverage of tobacco control issues, American Journal of Health Promotion, 26, (3) pp. 166-171. ISSN 0890-1171 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2012 American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.
Purpose. To characterize the presence of advocacy groups in media coverage about tobacco
Design. A content analysis of tobacco-related newspaper articles.
Sample. All 12 national and state capital daily newspapers published in Australia between
2004 and 2007.
Measures. We coded each article for explicit mentions of any of 16 major national or state
tobacco control advocacy groups; for the article type, prominence, and topic; for the tone of the
event; and for the authorís opinion.
Analysis. A series of 2 3 2 x2 analyses assessed the extent to which advocacy groups were
more or less likely to be mentioned in articles of each type, prominence, topic, event impact, and
Results. Of the 4387 tobacco-related articles published over this period, 22% mentioned an
advocacy group. There was a greater-than-expected proportion of advocacy groups mentioned in
news articles with very high prominence (44%; x2 [1, N 5 3118] 5 27.4, p , .001), high
prominence (34%; x2 [1, N 5 3118] 5 10.9, p, .001), and medium prominence (30%; x2
[1, N 5 3118] 5 7.3, p 5 .007), and in articles covering events with mixed (30%; x2 [1, N
5 4387] 5 10.0, p 5 .002) or positive (24%; x2 [1, N 5 4387] 5 26.1, p , .001)
implications for tobacco control.
Conclusions. Australian tobacco control advocacy groups have a reasonable presence within
the news discourse on tobacco control issues and so are likely to contribute to generating and
shaping this discourse, particularly in relation to evolving and controversial issues.
Advocacy; Smoking Control; Tobacco; Media; Newspaper; Prevention Research