Assessment of newspaper reporting of public health and the medical model: a methodological case study

Westwood, B; Westwood, G
March 1999
Health Promotion International;Mar1999, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p53
Academic Journal
A case study over a 4-week period reviewed health items reported in the Australian newspaper, The (Brisbane) Courier Mail, under the two broad categories of public health and the medical model. Content analysis was utilized to assess 19 criteria which measured prominence, content, stakeholders, orientation of reporting and tone of items. The findings suggest that public health, including health promotion, is presented less often, less prominently and less positively than medical model issues (Westwood, 1995). No comparable review of press reporting of these two models was identified in extensive international literature searches and this study is considered to break new ground. The potential influence of the print media in the education of the population on public health issue is presented. It is proposed that a greater understanding of the dynamics of health reporting and particularly the relationship between public health and the medical model may lead to more constructive and informative reporting.


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