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 Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 χ 2 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%; χ 2 [1, N = 3118] = 27.4, p 2 [1, N = 3118] = 10.9, p,.001), and medium prominence (30%; χ 2 [1, N = 3118] = 7.3, p =.007), and in articles covering events with mixed (30%; χ 2 [1, N = 4387] = 10.0, p =.002) or positive (24%; χ 2 [1, N = 4387] = 26.1, p

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



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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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