The authors investigated the effects of a media advocacy program to build support for cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related policy changes and to encourage adoption of heart-healthy behaviors in the Stanford Five-City Project, a long-term trial of community-wide CVD risk reduction. The authors content analyzed 4,824 health articles in two treatment city newspapers and two reference city newspapers between 1977 and 1990. One treatment city newspaper responded well to the program; the other did not. In the Salinas Californian, the number of CVD-related articles increased during the campaign; these articles became more prominent and conspicuous, the focus on prevention increased, and more of these articles were written by local staff. Maintenance of these effects after the campaign was mixed. Results suggest that frequent, regular, systematic contact with media professionals and provision of materials influence newspaper coverage of health-related topics, which has important implications for shaping public opinion and policy change.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health