Starting in March 1995, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, Gainesville, Fla., conducted three quantitative and qualitative analyses of daily newspaper coverage of health-related topics from 1993 and 1996.
It also conducted a quantitative comparison of coverage of health-related topics and that of crime, education, and sports coverage. Project staff:
The First Analysis—The researchers produced the first-ever analysis of daily newspaper coverage by using electronic databases. Using keywords, the researchers searched Lexis-Nexis, the electronic database comprising 230 papers that make up 63 percent of all U.S. daily circulation.
Researchers found that in 1993, when health care reform was an important national issue:
Researchers drew a sample of articles longer than 500 words from this pool for further study.
The Second Analysis—The start-up phase of a second-round study examining essentially the same variables as the initial study.
The study was designed so that results could be compared with those of 1993. A sample of some 1,000 health articles published in 1996 was selected from Lexis-Nexis.
The coding used for categorizing the articles in the previous study was revised, and coders were recruited and trained.
The Third Analysis—Researchers compared the number of articles about health care with the number focused on education, crime and sports and performed quantitative and qualitative analyses.