Network News Coverage of Breast Cancer, 1974 to 2003

By Cho, Sooyoung | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

Network News Coverage of Breast Cancer, 1974 to 2003


Cho, Sooyoung, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


This study content analyzed 602 news story abstracts on breast cancer from the three major TV networks during the past three decades (1974 to 2003). The amount of news coverage on breast cancer increased during the time period. Some topics, such as prevention and treatment, increased significantly, whereas other issues, such as surgery and celebrities, decreased. The use of thematic frames and discussion of research developments increased across time, whereas other characteristics of the coverage did not change, such as the dominant citation of medical doctors as sources.

Mass media are partly responsible for promoting a healthier society by providing useful health information to their audiences and delivering news about the latest developments on health issues. Many women question health information from drug companies and physicians who are influenced by these manufacturers1 and rely more on informational sources such as the news and other media, including the Internet.2 Consequently, health communicators working for various health organizations depend on mass media to disseminate information.3

Many women in America are concerned about their chance of developing breast cancer; nearly one in every three female cancer patients is diagnosed with breast cancer.4 A woman's risk of developing breast cancer was 1 in 20 in 1960 but is 1 in 8 today. Currently, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes.5

For women seeking health information, magazines have served as one of the best sources because of their in-depth coverage of many female-specific diseases,6 including breast cancer. Although magazines provide greater depth of information about breast cancer, TV news is a primary source of health information and has the power to raise initial public awareness about the disease. In addition, breast cancer stories on TV news, because of its broad scope in reaching various kinds of audiences, can heighten awareness not only among women, whether or not they are actively searching for such information, but also their family members. TV news is an important informational conduit for breast cancer, and its selection and emphasis on certain aspects of breast cancer is important to the public.7

Despite its importance, few studies have investigated breast cancer coverage on TV networks over time. In this study, content analysis was performed on the 602 evening news abstracts on breast cancer for the three major TV networks during the past three decades (1974 to 2003). The purpose of this study was to examine (1) the number of news reports and amount of time devoted to breast cancer during this time period; (2) the types of issues in these reports; (3) the types of frames used in these reports; and (4) the types of sources cited in these reports. The sample was divided into three ten-year periods to assess changes across time.

Literature Review

Among the many types of cancers, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed in American women. Various efforts were made during the 1990s to decrease the mortality rate from breast cancer. For example, after 1990, women over 65 were able to get free biannual mammograms, and poor women in four states could receive free breast cancer screening.8 In 1994, the National Cancer Institute announced increased funding for breast cancer.9 Although the breast cancer mortality rate has decreased in the United States,10 it remains the third leading cause of death in American women after heart disease and lung cancer; approximately 40,000 women were expected to die from this disease in 2003." Consequently, medical researchers and mass media have paid considerable attention to this disease.

Increased Media Attention to Breast Cancer. Studies show that mass media coverage of breast cancer has increased significantly since the 1970s. For example, Corbett and Mori wrote that the New York Times and all U.S. magazines published only three breast cancer stories in 1960, but coverage increased to 149 stories in 1995. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Network News Coverage of Breast Cancer, 1974 to 2003
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.