5004.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 9:00 AM

Abstract #8354

High School newspaper coverage of tobacco

Lynn D. Wenger, MSW, MPH, Ruth, E. Malone, RN, PhD, and Lisa A. Bero, PhD. Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, Box 0936, Laurel Heights, San Francisco, CA 94143-0936, 415-476-9403, lynndee@itsa.ucsf.edu

High school newspapers play a role in conveying social messages to teens. Because such newspapers are produced by and for high school students, they offer a unique opportunity to study high school students' evolving perspectives on tobacco issues. To gain an understanding of the tobacco-related content of these newspapers, we mailed surveys to high school newspaper editors and their advisors at the 461 schools listed on the Quill and Scroll honor society mailing list. We asked them to return the survey along with articles from their newspapers covering tobacco issues. We received surveys from 137 schools. We report findings from a content analysis of 257 articles from the 95 schools that sent us articles. We report primary focus, mention of tobacco policy, type of policy, view expressed towards policy, health effects, overall image of tobacco portrayed in article, and the ways in which tobacco use is framed by youth journalists. The primary focus of 49% of the articles was tobacco control policy, and tobacco policies (both school and governmental) were mentioned in 65% of articles. The health effects of tobacco use were mentioned in 62% of articles and tobacco was portrayed negatively in 88% of articles. Tobacco use was frequently framed as an avoidable health risk (27%) to be managed through individual behavior change strategies. Tobacco use was also framed as a threat to vulnerable minors (25%) to be managed through tobacco control policies. Our findings may help tobacco control advocates better understand how high school journalists portray tobacco issues.

Learning Objectives: 1. Identify the social messages about tobacco conveyed in high school newspaper articles. 2. Describe the tobacco related content of these articles. 3. Assess the ways in which tobacco use is framed by youth journalists

Keywords: Media, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA