Online Program

Analyzing news coverage and resulting public discourse about cdc's ‘tips from former smokers' campaign

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:50 p.m. - 5:10 p.m.

Katherine Clegg Smith, PhD, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Sherry Emery, PhD, MBA, Institute for Health Research and Policy - Health Media Collaboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Glen Szczypka, MA, Health Media Collaboratory, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Rachel Kornfield, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Joshua Hromas, MA, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
News coverage of health promotion campaigns is often characterized as ‘earned media.' Such coverage can convey the rationale or background to an issue in ways not viable through paid placement, and effectively spread the campaign's message well beyond the primary audience. Moreover, novel ‘commenting' capacity of online media now facilitate widespread public engagement.

In March 2012, the CDC launched ‘Tips from Former Smokers,' a four-month, $54million media campaign promoting smoking cessation and initiation prevention, using graphic testimony of smoking's health consequences from actual former smokers. The “Tips” campaign represents the largest federal investment in a tobacco control media campaign to date. Given the size and graphic approach of the campaign, consideration of reach and engagement of earned media is clearly important.

Earned media coverage of the “Tips” campaign was collected from a purposive, diverse sample of 5 leading policy-focused blogs and 10 traditional news media sites. Together, 37 initial media pieces on the campaign (23 news articles, 11 blog postings and 2 video reels) and 10,900 related public comments were collected for analysis.

A qualitative thematic analysis of the news and blog content is ongoing. A combination of manual and computerized coding is being developed to analyze related comments for campaign position (support or opposition) and major frame (e.g. nanny state or societal costs of smoking). By facilitating the coding of thousands of public comments on earned media related to the “Tips” campaign, this novel mixed-methods approach represents a perspective on public discourse that has never before been possible.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the key elements to the CDC ‘Tips from Former Smokers’ campaign Discuss the frames employed by proponents and opponents of the campaign on the part of audiences of leading news sites and blogs Evaluate the opportunities and challenges associated with coding a large volume of public discourse on a public health campaign.

Keyword(s): Media, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am leading the analysis associated with this presentation. I am an expert in tobacco control media coverage.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.