The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4008.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 4

Abstract #41675

First impressions: Using newspaper content analysis to evaluate public relations efforts of a statewide tobacco control program

M Jane Lewis, DrPH, Spiro G Yulis, MHS, and Alexandra Greenberg. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey -School of Public Health, PO Box 2688 Liberty Plaza Suite 2200, 335 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, 732-235-9742,

Newspapers are a principle means by which the public is exposed to information on tobacco control activities and issues. In addition, newspaper coverage serves an agenda setting function, shaping policies, social norms, attitudes, and beliefs. Tobacco related issues rank high in newsworthiness and have in recent years become routine content.

As part of an evaluation of the New Jersey Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (NJCTCP), and its public relations efforts, this study examined newspaper coverage of statewide tobacco issues. A descriptive content analysis was conducted on clippings concerning tobacco appearing in all New Jersey newspapers and out-of-state newspapers with a significant New Jersey circulation. In addition to general news outlets, special interest papers (e.g. real estate, lifestyle) were surveyed. Clippings were obtained through a commercial clipping service based on a prearranged set of keywords.

The resulting 3200 article sample was analyzed using both content and a variety of statistical analyses. The current period of analysis encompasses sixteen months, ranging from September 1, 2000 to December 31, 2001. Content analysis was accomplished by applying a semi-structured coding instrument. Each clipping was coded for multiple variables including: publication name; date of publication; type of article (e.g. feature, editorial, letter to editor, etc.); and primary issue (e.g. cessation, prevention, tobacco control). Additionally, each article was coded for NJCTCP relevant subtopics (e.g. programs in force, local efforts, state policy, region, and state NJCTCP organizations mentioned). Results will be presented including the frequency of articles by topic over time.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Tobacco, Media Campaigns

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    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.

    Media Issues in Tobacco Control, Cessation and Prevention Poster Session

    The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA