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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

iseases and conditions rather than examining health policy issues such as why health care costs so much or what to do about it," said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Recent trends indicate that people's television viewing is migrating from network to cable programming and from reading news in print publications to more online content. The newly released study indicates that health content ranges from a high of 8.3 percent of network evening news coverage to a low of 1.4 percent of cable news coverage, and from 5.9 percent of newspaper content to 2.2 percent of online news content. Newspapers were the most likely to address health policy issues (41% of all health coverage, compared to 26% of cable's health news and 18% of online health news).

"As the public's news consumption shifts more toward online and cable outlets, people are likely to come across fewer stories about health, and particularly about health policy," said Kaiser's Victoria Rideout, vice president and director of The Program for the Study of Media and Health at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The study encompassed a significant portion of the 2008 primary campaign season, allowing for an analysis of the prevalence of health in campaign-related stories. Several candidates were running for president in hotly contested races for both the Democratic and Republican nominations, but for the period from January 2007 through June 2008, health-focused stories made up less than one percent (0.6%) of campaign news coverage. More generally, coverage of health news dropped as the primary season started in December 2007. From January 2007 to November 2007, health accounted for 4.1 percent of news coverage, but only accounted for 2.8 percent of coverage from December to June 2008.

The report can be viewed at http://www.kff.org/
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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