Making news: The appearance of tobacco control organizations in newspaper coverage of tobacco control issues

Melanie A. Wakefield, Emily Brennan, Sarah J. Durkin, Kim McLeod, Katherine C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: To characterize the presence of advocacy groups in media coverage about tobacco issues. Design: A content analysis of tobacco-related newspaper articles. Setting: Australia. 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 author's opinion. Analysis: A series of 2 × 2 χ2 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 opinion orientation. 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%; χ2 [1, N = 3118] = 27.4, p <.001), high prominence (34%; χ2 [1, N = 3118] = 10.9, p,.001), and medium prominence (30%; χ2 [1, N = 3118] = 7.3, p =.007), and in articles covering events with mixed (30%; χ2 [1, N = 4387] = 10.0, p =.002) or positive (24%; χ2 [1, N = 4387] = 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


  • Advocacy
  • Media
  • Newspaper
  • Prevention research
  • Smoking control
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Making news: The appearance of tobacco control organizations in newspaper coverage of tobacco control issues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this