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Wide-Ranging Study of National News Reveals Health News Comprises Less Than Four Percent of All Coverage
Date:11/23/2008

Eighteen-Month Study Shows Network Evening News and Newspapers Devote More Coverage to Health than Online News, Talk Radio and Cable Television News

Health Was the Focus of Less than One Percent Of Campaign-Related Stories during Primary Season

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the news media industry experiences a period of upheaval and transformation, a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that news about health and health care made up less than four percent (3.6%) of all news content from January 2007 through June 2008, well behind coverage of foreign affairs and crime, and just behind stories about disasters and accidents.

The study, Health News Coverage in the U.S. Media, also examines the type of health coverage in the news, and finds that the largest proportion (42%) of the stories were about specific diseases or conditions, with cancer receiving the most attention (10% of all health coverage). Thirty-one percent of health news focused on public health issues, including potential epidemics and contamination of food and drugs. The smallest category of stories focused on health policy or the health care system (27%) of all health news, or less than one percent (.9%) of all news content. This category includes stories on topics such as Medicare and Medicaid, the uninsured, health care costs, and proposals for reform of the health care system.

"At a time when health care ranks near the top of the public's list of concerns, there is relatively little coverage of health and health policy in the news media," said Kaiser's Senior Vice President for Media and Public Education Matt James.

"And while journalists know that Americans are keenly worried about their health care, in practice that usually translates into reporting on specific d
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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